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The 

Lincoln 
Storij 




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...as told by Chester R. Shook 



LINCOLN ROOM 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 
LIBRARY 





MEMORIAL 

the Class of 1901 

founded by 

HARLAN HOYT HORNER 

and 

HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER 




iir~c^ 



1 



sMM* 




7//^% 



"His life was gentle 
And the elements so mix'd in him that 
Nature might stand up 
And say to all the world 
This was a man." 

Shakespeare 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



http://www.archive.org/details/lincolnstoryOOilshoo 



The 
LINCOLN STORY 



As Told By 
CHESTER R. SHOOK 



CINCINNATI • OHIO 



COPYRIGHT 1950 
by Chester R. Shook 



Illustrations by Paul G. Bogosian, Cincinnati artist 

Printed in U.S.A. 

Berman Printing Company 

Cincinnati, Ohio 



113.1LU3 

Introduction 

I have had the pleasure of listening to the reading 
of most of the papers on the Lincoln Story by former 
Judge Chester R. Shook. Not only does his factual 
material show considerable research and knowledge of 
the subject matter, but we have here a new approach. 
Certainly, he has reached conclusions which are vibrant 
and very worth-while for any serious student of Abra- 
ham Lincoln. 

Judge Shook started selling newspapers on the streets 
of Cincinnati as a young boy ; at fourteen years of age, 
he began working as a cash boy in one of our depart- 
ment stores; while working, he attended Night High 
School, graduated, then attended one year of Evening 
Law School. Later, he worked as a part-time stenog- 
rapher in one of the leading law offices in Cincinnati 
in order to pay his way through the Cincinnati (day) 
Law School. He had received his L.L.B. degree, and 
was practicing law, when he felt the need for further 
academic training; at the end of twelve years as a 
student in day and evening courses at the University 
of Cincinnati, he received his A.B. degree at the age 
of thirty-six. In the meantime he had married and 
had children. 

In his practice of the law, which has covered a 
considerable range, Judge Shook has achieved the 
reputation for rigid honesty and observance of the 

V 



VI INTRODUCTION 

highest professional ethics. He has served one com- 
plete term of six years as Judge of the Common Pleas 
Court of Hamilton County, with distinction. He has 
for years been active as a leader in alumni affairs at 
the University of Cincinnati. He formed the Com- 
mittee of 100 in 1925, which has grown into one of 
the most effective college alumni organizations in the 
country. At that time, he was serving as President 
of the general Alumni Association. He helped organize 
and served as first President of the Evening Alumni 
Association; also was President of the Men's Liberal 
Arts Alumni Association for two terms, and of the 
Cincinnati Law School Alumni Association. He has 
for years represented the Law School on the Executive 
Alumni Committee, with which he is still active. He 
has been on many important committees in the Ohio 
State Bar Association and the Cincinnati Bar Associa- 
tion ; he is a member of the American Bar Association, 
the American Judicature Society and the Cincinnati 
Lawyers' Club. He has headed many movements, both 
welfare and educational, in Cincinnati, and is espe- 
cially interested in the educational program in his 
home town. 

I recommend a careful reading and study of this 
interesting Lincoln Story by a man who has been a 
disciple as well as a student of our greatest American. 

MICHAEL G. HEINTZ, 

HISTORIAN, OHIO DEPARTMENT, SONS OF UNION 

VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR, Cincinnati, Ohio 



Appreciation 



From my earliest youth, the name of Abraham Lin- 
coln has been a source of inspiration. Having read, 
throughout the years, a good deal of controversial 
Lincoln material, especially concerning slavery, his 
ancestry and his married life, I began, a few years 
ago, an intensive study of his life. 

Within the past five years I have visited many of 
the notable Lincoln shrines and monuments throughout 
the country and have had discussions about Lincoln 
with many eminent authorities. 

In Washington, D.C., especially in the Congressional 
Library, I found an imposing amount of Lincoln 
material. 

On the campus of Lincoln Memorial University, in 
Harrogate, Tennessee, I lived in the Faculty House, 
joined the students in the dining room, met with the 
faculty, including Dr. Robert L. Kincaid, distinguished 
president of the University, and had the rare privilege 
of studying in the Lincoln library with Dr. R. Gerald 
McMurtry, its Director. This library contains the 
marvelous collection of Meserve portraits of Lincoln. 

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Dr. Louis A. Warren was 
of invaluable assistance to me and allowed me access 
to the magnificent library of the Lincoln National 
Life Foundation, of which he is Director. 

In the Illinois State Historical Library, in Spring- 

VII 



VIII APPRECIATION 

field, Illinois, I saw one of the signed copies of the 
Gettysburg speech; also, the leather-bound volume 
containing the masterful address of Edward Everett. 
Dr. Jay Monaghan, State Historian in charge, patiently 
answered numerous questions which were bothering 
me. Also, in Springfield, I had the opportunity of 
interviewing Dr. Roy P. Basler, Editor of the Abraham 
Lincoln Quarterly and Executive Secretary of the 
Abraham Lincoln Association. At the Lincoln Tomb, 
the late Herbert Wells Fay, state-commissioned cus- 
todian, in his usual kindly, courteous fashion, remi- 
nisced about Lincoln and displayed his world-renowned 
collection of Lincolniana. I visited the Lincoln home 
at Eighth and Jackson Streets and numerous other 
places connecting Lincoln with his home town. There, 
too, I saw two of his three law offices, all of which 
faced the Old State House. The former offices of 
Stuart & Lincoln and of Logan & Lincoln are kept 
in about the same condition as during Lincoln's law 
practice. The third office, Lincoln & Herndon, is 
designated by a large, bronze plaque on the outside 
of a department store, which is on the former site of 
this law office. The rebuilt New Salem of his young 
manhood is particularly impressive. 

Interesting discussions with Dr. Paul M. Angle, 
Secretary and Director of the Chicago Historical 
Society, in Chicago, were of lasting value. Also, I saw 
many places of interest in Chicago, where Lincoln had 



APPRECIATION IX 

tried a considerable number of law suits and where 
he was nominated for the Presidency of the United 
States. 

These gentlemen, eminent authors, scholars and 
orators, stimulated my desire for further research. 
Likewise, I am indebted to my friends, Honorable 
Michael G. Heintz, well-known Lincoln scholar, and 
Honorable James G. Stewart, Judge of the Supreme 
Court of Ohio and distinguished Lincoln orator, as 
well as to Dr. Ernest L. Talbert, Professor Emeritus 
of Sociology, and Dr. Clyde W. Park, Professor Emer- 
itus of English, University of Cincinnati, for their 
criticisms, corrections and suggestions. 

I recently returned from the National Shrine at 
Hodgenville, Kentucky, containing the traditional log 
cabin in which Lincoln was born. There, at the base 
of the knoll, I saw the clear running spring from which 
Lincoln and the other members of his family drank, 
during his early childhood. There stands the mighty 
oak, almost three hundred years old. As I walked up 
the fifty-six steps, denoting the years Lincoln lived, 
and saw the sixteen roseates on the ceiling of the 
Shrine, symbolizing Lincoln as the sixteenth President 
of the United States, and read the numerous encomiums 
inscribed on the tablets on the walls fronting the cabin, 
I could understand the worship of the American people 
for this gigantic figure. 

All my activities have been directed toward a true 



X APPRECIATION 

understanding of the real Lincoln ; they have inspired 
me with a renewed patriotic zeal and love for my 
country. With it has come the realization of the perils 
which confront us in our day. 

I ask the indulgence of the reader for the reason 
that the contents of this booklet were written for public 
delivery. There is no claim to special merit for literary 
attainment, although all of the material has been 
analyzed and criticized for accuracy. I have had the 
opportunity of reading the substance of each of these 
papers in appearances here and in other communities, 
before numerous school children of various ages, 
teachers' organizations, university groups, Bar associa- 
tions, luncheon clubs, churches and civic groups. I have 
been amazed and gratified at the universal respect 
which our people, regardless of age or sex, show toward 
all phases of the life of Abraham Lincoln. 

Sincerely, 

CHESTER R. SHOOK, 

Cincinnati, Ohio 



Contents 



INTRODUCTION V 

APPRECIATION VII 

A GREAT MAN IS BORN 3 

YOUTH AND EDUCATION 17 

CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 27 

HUSBAND AND FATHER 39 

THE LAWYER 49 

THE POLITICIAN 63 

WAR PRESIDENT 77 

THE LONG SHADOW 93 

GREAT EMANCIPATOR 103 

WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN 115 

AND IN CONCLUSION— 125 

REFERENCES 137 



XI 



THE LINCOLN STORY 



"Lives of great men all remind us, 
We can make our lives sublime." 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 



I 



A Great Man Is Born 



There is a legend that on February 12, 1809, in 
Hardin County, Kentucky, at a forest crossing, two 
frontiersmen were driving in opposite directions, 

through the rough . ^ 

country. Said one to »=- f'*"WT§^lJ 
the other, in passing: 
"Any news, neighbor?" 
"Nope", was the reply, 
"Nothing ever happens 
around here. Oh, by the W 
way, I hear Nancy g_ 
Hanks has just had an- 
other baby." "Giddap", J|[_ 
the drivers yelled to 
their teams and pro- 
ceeded in their several 

directions. Thus, unheralded and unsung, was born one 
of the earth's truly great. An imposing monument has 
been erected near Hodgenville, Hardin County, Ken- 
tucky (formerly Hodgen's Mill), by a grateful people, 
to the memory of Abraham Lincoln. 

The first seven years of his life, Abraham Lincoln 
lived in Kentucky ; from his seventh to his twenty-first 

3 




4 THE LINCOLN STORY 

year he lived in Indiana. By the time he was sixteen, 
he was a strong, sturdy backwoodsman, six feet, two 
inches tall. He had not yet shown any special promise 
of future greatness. The year Abraham Lincoln was 
born, James Madison was inaugurated President of 
the United States; George Washington, John Adams 
and Thomas Jefferson had ended their illustrious 
careers as the heads of our Government, and had 
placed the new "experiment in democracy" upon a 
firm foundation. 

The primitive log cabin where Abraham Lincoln 
was born blended with the wild surroundings. The 
floor consisted of packed-down dirt. One door swung 
on leather hinges, which let the family in and out. 
There was one small window, probably covered with 
the tightly stretched skin of a hog, or some small 
animal. A stick-clay chimney carried off the smoke 
from the crude open fireplace. Through the long win- 
ter evenings the children listened to many blood- 
curdling stories about adventures with wild animals 
and Indians. From these humble beginnings Lincoln 
reached sublime heights during a life of hardship, 
sacrifice and travail. 

The story of Lincoln is known to nearly every 
school child throughout America and the world. He 
was farm-hand, splitter of rails, storekeeper, surveyor, 
clerk of the Election Board and Postmaster of Salem, 
Illinois. In 1832, he was defeated for the State Legis- 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 5 

lature of Illinois. As Lincoln himself said, this was 
the only time he was ever defeated by the vote of the 
people for any office for which he ran. He had served 
as a volunteer in the Black Hawk War, and was elected 
captain of his company in the same year of 1832. He 
had announced his candidacy before volunteering, and 
after serving for about three months, he returned to 
Salem, about two weeks before the election. 

From 1834 to 1840 he was elected four times to the 
State Legislature in Illinois. In 1837, he was admitted 
to the Bar of Illinois ; during his practice he had as 
partners three prominent and well-known lawyers: 
John T. Stuart, cousin of Mary Todd, Judge Stephen 
T. Logan and William H. Herndon. 

On November 4, 1842, he was married to Mary 
Todd ; he was then thirty-three years of age ; she was 
twenty-three. In 1844, he was elected as a Whig 
candidate to the Presidential Electoral College. From 
1846-1848, he served one term in Congress. In May of 
1856, at the Republican State Convention in Bloom- 
ington, Illinois, Lincoln was nominated as a presi- 
dential elector, and made his famous "Lost Speech". 
In the same year, the first Republican National Con- 
vention was held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lin- 
coln received one hundred ten votes in this Convention 
as a candidate for Vice President. 

In 1858, he was a candidate for United States Sena- 
tor and engaged in seven debates with Stephen A. 



6 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Douglas, his formidable opponent. In addition, each 
of them made numerous other addresses. During the 
campaign, this series of seven debates was publicly 
known as "the fight between the little giant and the 
giant killer". Lincoln received a popular vote in this 
election of 1,866,452 votes against 1,375,157 votes for 
Douglas. However, the election was decided by legis- 
lative districts, and Mr. Douglas was declared elected. 

On February 27, 1860, Lincoln delivered his famous 
Cooper Union Speech in New York City, before an 
audience of distinguished scholars and leading citizens ; 
it attracted unusual attention. William Cullen Bryant, 
the poet, presided at the meeting. One auditor told 
Lincoln, when asked what most impressed him : "The 
clearness of your statements — the unanswerable style 
of your reasoning — and especially your illustrations, 
which were romance and pathos and fun and logic 
all welded together." 

Abraham Lincoln was the first successful presidential 
candidate of the Republican Party ; he was nominated 
in Chicago and, in 1860, elected President of the United 
States; his running mate was Hannibal Hamlin of 
Maine. 

Lincoln was not a back-slapper. He was a melan- 
choly man, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with 
grief". Joshua Speed, one of his few close friends, with 
whom Lincoln lived when he first went to Springfield, 
said : "I never saw so gloomy and melancholy a face in 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 7 

my life". He was reserved in manner, but sympathetic 
toward any worthy appeal. 

He was a persuasive orator, following the style of 
his great ideal, Henry Clay of Kentucky, of whom 
Lincoln said : "Mr. Clay's eloquence did not consist — 
as many fine specimens of eloquence do — of tropes 
and figures, of antithesis and elegant arrangements of 
words and sentences — but rather of that deeply 
earnest and impassioned tone and manner which can 
proceed only from great sincerity and a thorough con- 
viction in the speaker of the justice and importance of 
his cause." Lincoln often showed signs of nervousness 
in the beginning of his talks, and had a high, shrill 
voice, but the content of his speeches and his sincere 
and persuasive manner usually made a lasting im- 
pression. A considerable number of his public ad- 
dresses, especially with his opponent, Douglas, were 
delivered out-of-doors. Douglas had a guttural method 
of speaking, whereas Lincoln usually spoke in a nasa- 
lized, high-pitched tone, which carried much better in 
the open air. As Lincoln would advance into the body 
of his speech, he could sustain his tones in a high 
range, which gave him quite an advantage. 

Abraham Lincoln was not only honest in the ordi- 
nary meaning of the term, but, what is far more im- 
portant, he was intellectually honest. He said : "I made 
a point of honor and conscience in all things to stick 
to my word, especially if others had been induced to 



8 THE LINCOLN STORY 

act on it." He said, too: "I want in all cases to do 
right and most particularly so in all cases with women." 

In 1864, Lincoln was nominated at Baltimore, Md., 
and re-elected President of the United States. Strange 
to say, he did not make a campaign speech for either 
term in the White House. 

Lincoln was born on Sunday, the Sabbath day of 
the Lord, and was shot fatally on Good Friday of 
1865. That year, the following Sunday was known as 
"Black Easter". He lived a cycle of eight times seven 
years, which has been considered of some significance 
by numerologists, seven being the so-called number of 
perfection. Ancient Judea decreed that the candle- 
sticks used in ritualistic services should contain "two 
branches of one piece with it for the six branches going 
out of the candlestick". The seventh day was decreed 
as the holy day in the creation. In Revelations, the 
inspired writer speaks of "the mystery of the seven stars 
which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven 
golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of 
the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks are 
seven churches." Lincoln lived the first seven years of 
his life in Kentucky, two times seven years in Indiana ; 
four times seven years in Illinois (including seven years 
in Decatur and New Salem, and twenty-one years in 
Springfield) ; and seven years in Washington, counting 
the two years in Congress, the four years of his first 
term as President, and part of the year 1865 down to 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 9 

the date of his death. His paternal ancestry has been 
traced through seven generations. There are seven 
letters in both his first and last names. 

Astrologers have often designated February as the 
"month of greatness". Many world figures were born 
in February. Among these are: 

COPERNICUS, who discovered that the sun is the center of 
the universe and laid the foundation for modern astronomy. 

GALILEO, Star-Gazer, follower of Copernicus. 

CHARLES DARWIN, noted scientist, born February 12, 
1809, the same day as Abraham Lincoln. 

THOMAS A. EDISON, wizard of electricity. 

RAPHAEL, who is credited with having given the world its 
most famous painting, "The Sistine Madonna". 

FELIX MENDELSSOHN, famous composer of the "Wed- 
ding March". 

GEORGE HANDEL, who gave the world the "Messiah", 
classed as the greatest Oratorio ever written. 

Then we have CHARLES DICKENS, VICTOR HUGO, 
and HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, in literature, 
and the immortal GEORGE WASHINGTON, and many others. 

Lincoln was tall and awkward, six feet, four inches 
in height at the age of twenty-one, with unusually long 
arms and narrow chest and a small head ; he gave the 
impression of loping when he walked. Yet, despite his 
ungainly appearance, he was a very dignified man. 
Good authority states : "The only person he ever heard 
address him by his first name was a street urchin, whose 



10 THE LINCOLN STORY 

impertinence astonished the future president quite as 
much as it amused him," Lincoln was known as 
"Honest Abe" from his early manhood, but this 
was an appellation of affection and not a nickname. 
Throughout his adult career he was designated as Mr. 
Lincoln. 

What is it which places Lincoln among the great 
leaders and thinkers of the past ? In one of Emerson's 
Essays, we read: "He is great who is what he is from 
Nature and who never reminds us of others." Abraham 
Lincoln was not a type. He stands alone. We have his 
own statement that he had no background of sub- 
stantial, successful or important ancestors. He said: 
"I am not so much concerned with who my grand- 
father was and am more concerned to know what his 
grandson will be." However, his paternal ancestry 
has been traced back to distinguished settlers in 
Massachusetts. Many prominent and active men in 
earliest American history are included in this list of 
ancestors. But, he always minimized his ancestry. 

On the walls of the Memorial Union Building of the 
University of Indiana are engraved five of the greatest 
names in history : CHRIST, ARISTOTLE, GALILEO, 
SHAKESPEARE, LINCOLN. 

To date more has been written about Lincoln than 
any other person in the world's history, aside from 
religious figures. Up to 1900, literature about Napoleon 
Bonaparte was leading in volume. This has been ex- 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 11 

ceeded, however, by the flood of Lincoln literature 
given the public in the past four decades. It is interest- 
ing to note that the story of Abraham Lincoln has been 
broadcast over the world in at least twenty-seven 
different languages and dialects, including French, 
Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, German, Greek, Hebrew, 
Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Persian, Turkish, 
Spanish, and many others. According to Carl Sandburg 
"the total number of Lincoln words preserved for pos- 
terity is more than one million — a figure greater 
than that of all the words in the Bible (including the 
Apocrypha) or of Shakespeare's complete works." 

Great statesmen and scholars have eulogized Lincoln 
in superlatives. Several quotations will suffice: 

GEORGE CLEMENCEAU 

"One of the greatest men that ever lived, great by thought, 
great by feeling, and great by action." 

LORD CHARNWOOD 

"Beyond his own country some of us recall his name as the 
greatest among those associated with popular government.' , 

NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER 

"What manner of man was this who had become the idol of a 
free people, and the very incarnation of their loftiest spirit and 
their noblest ideals? Years have passed and his stately sombre 
figure stands out every day more clearly against the background 
of history." 

ROBERT INGERSOLL 

"Lincoln was the grandest figure of the fiercest war. He is 
the gentlest memory of our world." 



12 THE LINCOLN STORY 

The last speech of Winston Churchill as Prime 
Minister in the House of Commons of England con- 
tained this statement: 

"The aim of the British people is to develop a government of 
the people, by the people, for the people." 

Thus did a spokesman for one of the great governments 
of the world take this idealistic conception from the 
lips of the immortal Lincoln. 

Thus spake the prophet Micah to all future gen- 
erations : "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to 
do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with 
thy God?" To a supreme degree, Abraham Lincoln 
developed the qualities of justice, mercy and humility. 
"Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with 
him while he is right and part with him when he goes 
wrong." What a keen sense of justice ! His Secretary 
of War, Edwin M. Stanton, frequently cautioned 
Lincoln about relaxing military rules in order to 
save the lives of soldiers who had been guilty of 
infraction of discipline. This was especially true 
with reference to young inexperienced men. Lincoln 
often said that his purpose was to save and not 
to destroy lives. "The quality of mercy" in Lincoln 
was not strained. His humility was probably his 
outstanding trait. In 1860, when he was running 
for President, he told J. L. Scripps of the Chicago 
Tribune : "Why, Scripps, it is a great piece of folly to 
attempt to make anything out of me or my early life. 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 13 

It can all be condensed into a single sentence, and that 
sentence you will find in Gray's Elegy: 'The short 
and simple annals of the poor'." 

In his famous letter of November 21, 1864, to Mrs. 
Bixby, Lincoln wrote : 

"Dear Madam : 

I have been shown in the file of the war department a state- 
ment of the adjutant-general of Massachusetts that you are the 
mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of 
battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine 
which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss 
so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the 
consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they 
died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the 
anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished 
memory of the loved and lost and the solemn pride that must be 
yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom." 

What a tender and compassionate heart had Lincoln ! 

Another mark of greatness about Lincoln was his 
simplicity of manner and speech. His imperishable 
words have been read through past generations and 
will continue to be the inspiration of mankind through 
all future time. One quotation is sufficient to show 
his use of language, which all can understand. From the 
concluding words of the Second Inaugural Address, 
we read : 

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firm- 
ness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to 
finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to 
care for him who shall have borne the battle, to do all which 



14 THE LINCOLN STORY 

may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves 
and with all nations." 

Lincoln had the genius to condense colossal, uni- 
versal ideas into few words. To illustrate this state- 
ment, we quote from Dr. Louis A. Warren, noted 
Lincoln scholar : 

"Within a period af approximately a year and a half, there 
came from the pen of Abraham Lincoln four masterpieces of 
literature, which in their respective fields have not been sur- 
passed. This group of compositions consisting of a proclamation 
of Thanksgiving, an oration of dedication, a letter of condolence, 
and an inaugural address, were all produced between October 
3, 1863 and March 4, 1865. In referring to these writings they 
might be called an American Quadruple of English Eloquence. 

"The proclamation written on October 3, 1863 was the first 
annual national Thanksgiving proclamation, the oration of dedi- 
cation was delivered at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, the 
letter of condolence was written to the Widow Bixby on Novem- 
ber 21, 1864, and the inaugural address, the second one, was 
delivered on March 5, 1865. 

"These writings are also unusual examples of brevity in ex- 
pression. The longest address contains but 700 words and it can 
be read in five minutes. The shortest manuscript runs about 130 
words and can be read in one minute. The four writings com- 
bined total but 1600 words and only eleven minutes would be 
required for a careful reading of all the documents." 

It seems to be a common attribute of truly great men 
to be able to reduce the most profound thoughts to the 
simplest equations. Lincoln spoke in Biblical style, 
using homely parables as illustrations. "He spoke as 
one with authority and not as the scribes." Abraham 



A GREAT MAN IS BORN 15 

Lincoln was a cosmic figure and rose as an intellectual 
and spiritual giant above his fellows. 

The finger of God touched this lowly and melan- 
choly man and lifted his head to the stars. Abraham 
Lincoln was truly a son of God. God crowned him 
with honor and with glory. The heart of Lincoln 
enshrined a cathedral with deep sounding bells, be- 
cause he was attuned to the infinite. We bow our 
heads in gratitude before this gigantic figure who will 
live in the hearts and minds of men 'til time shall be 
no more. 

In this critical period of the world's history, let us 
resolve that Abraham Lincoln shall not have lived in 
vain. 



"Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth." 

ECCLESIASTES 12-1 



II 

Youth And Education 



The humble origin of Abraham Lincoln, his bitter 
poverty, the death of his mother when he was nine 
years old, which evidently was stamped indelibly 
upon his memory, his 
hard and incessant toil, 
his struggle against ad- 
versity and against the 
forces of rugged nature, 
his innate and everlast- 
ing honesty (honesty of 
purpose, of intellect, of 
heart), his gloomy, mel- 
ancholy appearance, his 
awkwardness and sensi- 
tivity, his ambition, his 
final triumph, have 
made this great figure the ideal toward which the 
struggling youth lifts his face. 

In his youth, Lincoln had an unquenchable hunger 
and thirst for knowledge. As a boy, he said: "I will 
study and prepare myself and if the opportunity 
should ever come, I will be ready." Altogether, Lincoln 
spent about one entire year in regular schools. This 

17 







18 THE LINCOLN STORY 

year's schooling was obtained when he was ten, four- 
teen and seventeen years of age. Often he walked for 
many miles to borrow books. He was obliged to walk 
four miles to and from one of the schools which he 
attended. Two of the books he used at school were 
Webster's Spelling Book and the American Speller. He 
also used Pike's Arithmetic. His law partner, Herndon, 
said that Lincoln had told him that Murray's English 
Reader was the best school book ever put into the 
hands of an American youth. He managed to read, 
at an early age, the Bible, Shakespeare, Aesop's Fables, 
Robinson Crusoe, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, A His- 
tory of the United States, Weem's Life of Washington, 
and a copy of the Statutes of Indiana. His early desire 
to become a lawyer was increased by the reading of the 
Declaration of Independence and the United States 
Constitution. But let us quote from his Autobiography, 
written in the third person, about his training in his 
youth in Kentucky and Indiana: 

"He had a sister, older than himself, who was grown and 
married, but died many years ago, leaving no child ; also a 
brother, younger than himself, who died in infancy. Before leav- 
ing Kentucky, he and his sister were sent, for short periods, to 
ABC schools, the first kept by Zachariah Riney, and the second 
by Caleb Hazel. At this time his father resided on Knob Creek, 
on the road from Bardstown, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, 
at a point three or three and a half miles south or southwest of 
Atherton's Ferry, on the Rolling Fork. From this place he re- 
moved to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in the autumn 
of 1816, Abraham then being in his eighth year. This removal 



YOUTH AND EDUCATION 19 

was partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the 
difficulty in land titles in Kentucky. He settled in an unbroken 
forest, and the clearing away of surplus wood was the great 
task ahead. Abraham, though very young, was large of his age, 
and had an ax put into his hands at once ; and from that till 
within his twenty-third year he was almost constantly handling 
that most useful instrument — less, of course, in plowing and 
harvesting seasons. * * * His father's residence continued at 
the same place in Indiana till 1830. While here Abraham went 
to A B C schools by littles, kept successively by Andrew Craw- 
ford, James Sweeney, and Azel W. Dorsey. He does not remem- 
ber any other. The family of Mr. Dorsey now resides in Schuyler 
County, Illinois. Abraham now thinks that the aggregate of all 
his schooling did not amount to one year. He was never in a 
college or academy as a student, and never inside of a college or 
academy building till since he had a law license. What he has in 
the way of education he has picked up. After he was twenty- 
three and had separated from his father, he studied English 
grammar — imperfectly, of course, but so as to speak and write 
as well as he now does. He studied and nearly mastered the 
six books of Euclid since he was a member of Congress. He 
regrets his want of education, and does what he can to supply 
the want. In his tenth year he was kicked by a horse, and 
apparently killed for a time. When he was nineteen, still residing 
in Indiana, he made his first trip upon a flatboat to New 
Orleans. * * * " 

Early evidence of his latent sense of humor can be 
found in these lines, scrawled in an arithmetic book in 
his own handwriting : 

"Abraham Lincoln 
His hand and pen 
He will be good 
But God knows when" 

We can all recall the familiar picture of the youth 



20 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Lincoln in a prone position in front of an open fireplace, 
using a piece of charcoal on a broad wooden shovel. 
When the writing was finished, he would use a sharp 
knife or plane and shave off the markings cleanly, and 
start over again. 

His father, Tom Lincoln, thought his boy was lazy, 
but Abraham Lincoln had a tireless mind. As one 
who was well-acquainted with young Lincoln said: 
"He dwelt only in the land of thought." The idea of 
those in charge of him was to keep him constantly at 
hard work. He helped in the splitting of rails and 
became expert in clearing farm lands. This developed 
his muscles and body so that he became celebrated in 
his young manhood as the strongest man in the com- 
munity. However, the intellectual fire burned slowly 
but with steady and intense glow throughout all the 
years. Lincoln had a retentive memory and had 
developed the faculty of self-discipline to a degree 
seldom achieved by other men. With Lincoln, obstacles 
became stepping stones to achievement. 

We know that Lincoln had a thoroughly trained 
mind and was educated in the broadest usage of that 
term. He studied rhetoric and spent hours stretched 
full lensrth under trees in an effort to fix in his mind 
the arbitrary rule that "adverbs qualify verbs, adjec- 
tives and other adverbs." It was his habit, as a young 
man, to practice speaking extemporaneously to stumps 
and trees as he was splitting rails in the clearance of 



YOUTH AND EDUCATION 21 

farm lands. Similarly, he studied mathematics, start- 
ing with the proof that "multiplying the denominator 
of a fraction divides it while dividing the denominator 
multiplies it". He bought a book on logic and mastered 
the science of explanations — how to analyze the ab- 
solutely true and relatively true, the proximate and 
remote causes. He bought "The Elements of Euclid", a 
book twenty-three centuries old. He learned that things 
equal to the same thing are equal to each other, etc. 
As a practicing lawyer, driving from circuit to circuit 
on his horse, he quietly worked out these mathematical 
problems. He was particularly partial to mathematics. 
He often studied Euclid by the light of a candle after 
other lawyers had dropped off to sleep. It has been 
said of Lincoln : "He wanted to be simple as the alpha- 
bet, definite as the numbers used in arithmetic, sure as 
the axioms of common notions, that are the starting 
point of Euclid." 

The great intellect of Abraham Lincoln was de- 
veloped very slowly. According to his own statement, 
he mastered the six books of Euclid after he was in 
Congress, so that he was past forty years of age when, 
still thirsting after knowledge, he perfected himself in 
the science of mathematics. 

Let us turn back for a number of years and observe 
Lincoln again as a little boy. He lived in a one room 
log cabin with his parents and his older sister Sarah. 
His brother, Thomas, died in infancy. There were 



22 THE LINCOLN STORY 

long handsplit shingles on the roof; there was a sleep- 
ing loft with pegs in the wall for Abraham to climb 
up to his bed in the attic. Most of the time he slept 
in dry leaves and kept himself warm by wearing his 
clothes ; occasionally, he covered himself with skins or 
any material which might provide warmth. Nancy 
Hanks loved her little boy dearly, but died when he 
was nine years old. She was buried in a rough plank 
coffin made by her husband, Tom Lincoln, and Dennis 
Hanks, her cousin. Weeks later, after her death, it is 
related that an itinerant preacher passed that way; 
the forlorn and ragged little boy and girl stood at 
their mother's grave with the rough backwoodsman, 
Tom Lincoln, and listened to these imperishable words : 

"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another 
Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the 
Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it 
seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; but ye know him ; for he 
dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you 
comfortless : I will come to you." 

On the interior wall of the Memorial Building at 
Hodgenville, Kentucky, is a carved marble tablet, 
containing these words : 

"Nancy Hanks Lincoln— February 4, 1874, October 5, 1818— 
Born in Virginia — her parents James & Nancy Shipley Hanks 
crossed the mountains into Kentucky. Orphaned at nine, she 
was adopted and reared by Richard and Lucy Shipley Berry, at 
whose home in Beechland, Washington County, Kentucky, she 
was married to Thomas Lincoln, June 17, 1806. To her was 
entrusted the task of training a giant, in whose childhood's 



YOUTH AND EDUCATION 23 

memories she was hallowed. Of her he said 'My earliest recollec- 
tion of my mother is sitting at her feet with my sister, drinking 
in the tales and legends that were read and related to us'. To 
him on her deathbed she said : 'I am going away from you 
Abraham, and I shall not return. I know you will be a good 
boy. That you will be kind to Sarah and your father. I want you 
to live as I have taught you, and to love your Heavenly Father'." 

"All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel 
mother." 

Then Sarah Bush Johnston came into the life of little 
Abraham and his sister. Tom Lincoln married her some 
months after the death of his first wife. She was a 
widow and had lived in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She 
had three children by her former husband. Tom Lin- 
coln had known Sarah Bush as a young girl ; it is said 
they had been sweethearts at one time. Sarah Bush 
Johnston made a complete change in the lives of these 
motherless children and the lonesome father. She 
was a fine wholesome, tender-hearted, matronly woman. 
She took a particular fancy to little Abraham. He 
owed her much and showed his appreciation in many 
ways even after he had become universally known. 

When running for the Legislature, in 1832, Lincoln 
told the people of Sangemon County, Illinois: 

"Upon the subject of education, nor presuming to dictate any 
plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the 
most important subject we as a people can be engaged in. That 
every man may receive at least a moderate education and there- 
by be enabled to read the histories of his own and other 
countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our 
free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance." 



24 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Need anything further be added to this statement of 
a young man, then twenty-three years of age, showing 
his burning desire for a knowledge of the truth, both 
for himself and his fellow Americans? This, Lincoln 
felt, could be accomplished only through mental dis- 
cipline and training. Without exaggeration, we may 
conclude that a large portion of the genius of Abraham 
Lincoln was his ability, in spite of distressing adversities 
which beset him, to discipline his mind and soul in fur- 
therance of his consuming passion for an education. 
That he appreciated higher education is also shown 
by the fact that he sent his son, Robert Todd Lincoln, 
to Phillips-Exeter Academy and Harvard University. 
While the self-educated Lincoln was running for 
President, and after he had become President, great 
universities saw fit to honor him with academic degrees. 
It is interesting to note in this connection that Lincoln 
once said: "I was never in a college or academy as a 
student and never inside of a college or academy build- 
ing till since I had a law license." Abraham Lincoln 
had three honorary degrees conferred upon him, all in 
absentia, before he died. On July 3, 1860, Knox Col- 
lege, located at Galesburg, Illinois, granted him the 
first L.L.D. Degree ever voted by the College. It is 
told that in 1858, in a debate at Galesburg before a 
large crowd at Knox College, he stepped through one 
of the windows onto the platform and said: "At last 
I have gone through Knox College." On June 27, 



YOUTH AND EDUCATION 25 

1861, at the 107th Commencement Celebration, Co- 
lumbia College (now Columbia University) conferred 
upon Lincoln the honorary degree of L.L.D. Likewise, 
the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) 
conferred the same degree upon him in 1864. On 
December 27, 1864, Lincoln sent a letter to the Board 
of Trustees of this College, one paragraph of which is 
significant : 

"Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon 
this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the 
most gratifying proofs of this conviction is the hearty devotion 
everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges in the national 
cause." 

This man whose education was thorough enough to 
produce his "Farewell" at Springfield, the "Gettysburg 
Address" and the "Second Inaugural" was truly deserv- 
ing of any academic honors conferred upon him. 

And so, this ambitious youth, Abraham Lincoln, 
proved to all posterity that he had studied and pre- 
pared himself and when the opportunity came, he 
was ready. 



(t A Woman arrayed with the sun, 
And the moon under her feet." 

Revelations 12-1 



Ill 

Concerning The Gentler Sex 



Probably the least understood phase of the life of 
Abraham Lincoln is his relationship to and romantic 
experiences with the opposite sex. In March of 1864, 
Lincoln wrote: 



"I am not accustomed to 
the use of language of 
eulogy ; I have never studied 
the art of paying compli- 
ments to women ; but I must 
say, that if all that has been 
said by orators and poets 
since the creation of the 
world in praise of women 
were applied to the women 
of America, it would not 
do them justice for their 
conduct during this war. I 
will close by saying, God bless 
the women of America." 



In his youth, Abraham Lincoln had the loving, 
tender care, first of his mother, Nancy Hanks, and 
then, in her stead, the utmost affection of Sarah 
Bush, who married Tom Lincoln, his father, after 
the death of his mother. Although Sarah Bush, a 
widow, had three children of her own, she lavished 

27 




28 THE LINCOLN STORY 

equal attention upon this strange and lonesome 
step-child, 

The death of his mother, when he was nine years 
old, had an everlasting effect upon Lincoln. From his 
mother, who had always dreamed strange dreams 
about this unusual child, he inherited his somewhat 
mystical and instinctively religious qualities. 

Nor did he ever forget the maternal care of Sarah 
Bush, and, in many ways, after he became famous, he 
showed his appreciation of all she had done for him. 

But great as is the interest in these two fine women, 
and their important relationship to Lincoln, we are 
primarily concerned with the truth about his romantic 
experiences with the opposite sex. 

We note that he became acquainted with little Kate 
Roby while he attended Crawford's School. He was 
about seventeen years old then ; she was about fifteen. 
Then Lincoln weighed about 160 pounds; he was six 
feet, two inches in height, vigorous and awkward. His 
feet and hands were disproportionately large ; he was 
small through his chest and had a small head. His 
skin was shrivelled and yellow; he wore buckskin 
breeches and a cotton shirt with a cap made of the 
skin of a squirrel or raccoon. His breeches were usually 
several inches too short, exposing his shin bones. 

According to Kate Roby, Lincoln seemed to be at- 
tracted to her and at one time, during a spelling match 
given by schoolmaster Crawford, she was asked to spell 



CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 29 

"defied". She began : d - e - f - and then hesitated be- 
cause she did not know if the next letter was "i" or "y". 
Looking up, she saw young Abraham smiling, and 
pointing with his index finger to his eye. So Kate went 
on with the correct spelling of the word. Certainly, this 
was not a love match in any real sense of the word, 
but Kate Roby liked to walk with Abraham, and they 
often went down to the river bank where they would 
dangle their feet in the water. Instead of showing any 
romantic inclinations, he would discuss, much to her 
amazement, mathematics and astronomy. 

History relates that Abraham Lincoln had courted 
four young women: Ann Rutledge, Mary Owens, 
Sarah Rickard and Mary Todd. 

A great deal of mystery and uncertainty surrounds 
the tragic romance with Ann Rutledge. She was born 
on January 7, 1813 and died August 25, 1835. She was 
the daughter of James Rutledge, who was one of the 
founders of New Salem, Illinois. James Rutledge came 
from Kentucky in 1829. He had business interests in 
a general store and mill and kept the tavern where 
Lincoln came to board in 1833. Ann Rutledge was a 
beautiful girl and was considered the village belle of 
her day. She was sensitive, industrious and a good 
housekeeper. We know, at the time Lincoln met her, 
that she was about five feet two inches in height and 
weighed about one hundred twenty pounds. She had 
auburn hair, blue eyes and fair complexion. Lincoln 



30 THE LINCOLN STORY 

was fully aware of the fact that Ann Rutledge was 
engaged to a young man named John McNeil and that 
she evidently was in love with him. In fact, they had 
become engaged when she was only seventeen years 
old. Mr. McNeil, having disposed of his interest in a 
business venture in New Salem, had gone back to New 
York, his native state. For some unexplained reason, 
before he left New Salem, he told Ann that his name 
was not McNeil but McNamar. After reaching New 
York, he corresponded with her, but his letters grew 
less ardent in time, and finally he stopped writing. 
Knowing all these facts, Lincoln openly visited her and 
was frequently seen with her. There were no letters 
written by either of them, although Lincoln was a 
prolific writer. It seems that everyone in New Salem 
was anxious to precipitate a marriage, although with 
his usual caution, Lincoln had conflicting emotions. 

Many songs and poems have been written, eulogizing 
this courtship. In fact, it is safe to say that this has 
become one of the best known romances in history. 

There are two contradictory views of the Ann Rut- 
ledge romance: 

Recently, Dr. Louis A. Warren, acknowledged Lin- 
coln scholar, said, according to a newspaper report : 

"The Rutledge romance in Abe Lincoln's life was 'pure fiction 
from beginning to end'. It was true that Lincoln had a love 
affair in Salem, Illinois, but it was with a Miss Owens and not 
Ann Rutledge. Miss Owens turned down the opportunity of 
becoming the wife of the Great Emancipator." 



CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 31 

On the other hand, according to Lincoln's partner, 
Herndon, the courtship of Ann Rutledge was the grand 
passion of his life. However, Herndon said : 

"I am aware that most of his (Lincoln's) biographers have 
taken issue with me on this phase of Mr. Lincoln's life." 

In all likelihood, the truth lies somewhere between 
the two extreme viewpoints. Mr. Herndon admitted 
that "Arnold says: 'The picture has been somewhat 
too highly colored, and the story made rather too 
tragic. 5 Dr. Hollard and others omit the subject alto- 
gether, while the most recent biography — the ad- 
mirable history by my friends Nicolay and Hay — 
devotes but five lines to it." 

The Herndon version of this love affair, however, 
has become deep-rooted in the tradition and folk-lore 
of Lincoln, although it was not published until almost 
a quarter of a century after his death. 

Let us pass to his next romance, with Mary Owens. 
In less than a year after the death of Ann Rutledge, 
the good women of New Salem again decided that 
Lincoln needed a wife. A talented, vivacious young 
lady, Mary Owens, had visited her sister, Mrs. Bennett 
Abell, some years before, and Lincoln, among other 
young men, had been attracted to her. So Mrs. Abell, 
who was deeply interested in Lincoln, suggested that 
she would bring her sister back to New Salem if Lin- 
coln would marry her. Lincoln, in his characteristic 



32 THE LINCOLN STORY 

manner, partly in jest, said that if she came and he 
didn't marry her, it wouldn't be his fault. Of course, 
this was enough for any woman or group of women. 
The campaign was on! Mary Owens visited New 
Salem. She was tall and rather stout, and about 
twenty-five years of age during this courtship. She 
was the pride of her father, a lively and interesting 
young woman. There is considerable evidence concern- 
ing the development and ending of the courtship of 
Lincoln and Mary Owens. 

In a letter written on May 22, 1866, by Mary Owens 
to Mr. W. H. Herndon (law partner of Mr. Lincoln 
for many years), she explains one of the reasons she 
declined to marry Lincoln. 

"You say you have heard why our acquaintance terminated 
as it did. I, too, have heard the same bit of gossip ; but I never 
used the remark which Madam Rumor says I did to Mr. Lincoln. 
I think I did on one occasion say to my sister, who was very 
anxious for us to be married, that I thought Mr. Lincoln was 
deficient in those little links which make up the chain of woman's 
happiness, — at least, it was so in my case." 

We quote from a letter Lincoln wrote to Miss Owens 
from Springfield, Illinois, on August 16, 1837, which 
can hardly be designated as a love letter : 

"Friend Mary : 

"You will, no doubt, think it rather strange, that I should write 
you a letter on the same day on which we parted ; and I can 
only account for it by supposing that seeing you lately makes 
me think of you more than usual, while at our late meeting we 



CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 33 

had but few expressions of thoughts. * * * I want, at this par- 
ticular time, more than anything else, to do right with you, and 
if I knew it would be doing right, as I rather suspect it would, 
to let you alone, I would do it. * * * Do not understand by this 
that I wish to cut your acquaintance. I mean no such thing. 
What I do wish is that our further acquaintance shall depend 
upon yourself. If such further acquaintance would contribute 
nothing to your happiness, I am sure it would not to mine. 

¥ T * 

Your Friend 
Lincoln" 

In none of the letters of either of the parties do we 
find any expression of deep emotion or passion. Sub- 
sequently, both Mary Owens and Lincoln married 
and established their separate homes, and a friendly 
interest existed throughout their lives. 

Lincoln proposed marriage in a quaint way to an- 
other estimable young lady, in 1840. He was finishing 
his last term in the state legislature and was thirty-one 
years old. Sarah Rickard was then only sixteen years 
old. Mr. Lincoln had met Miss Rickard at the home of 
her sister, Mrs. William Butler, in Springfield. Sarah 
Rickard later wrote : 

"As an old friend I will answer the question propounded to 
me, though I can scarcely see what good it can do history. Mr. 
Lincoln did make a proposal of marriage to me in the summer, 
or perhaps later, in the year of 1840. He brought to my atten- 
tion the accounts in the Bible of the Patriarch Abraham's 
marriage to Sarah, and used that historical union as an argument 
in his own behalf. My reason for declining his proposal was the 
wide difference in our ages. I was then only sixteen, and had 



34 THE LINCOLN STORY 

given the subject of matrimony but little, if any, thought. I 
entertained the highest regard for Mr. Lincoln. He seemed 
almost like an older brother, being, as it were, one of my sister's 
family." 

This proposal to young Miss Rickard is typical of 
Lincoln's attitude toward women. We can visualize the 
scene. In his awkward, diffident manner, he probably 
said : "Our names are Abraham and Sarah ; the Bib- 
lical Abraham married Sarah; will you marry me?" 
She promptly replied: "No." 

Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd, also a native 
of Kentucky, a relative of Dolly Madison's first hus- 
band. She was vivacious, impulsive, strong-willed, 
exceedingly attractive and was descended from a long 
line of distinguished and aristocratic forebears. Mary 
Todd was proud of her heritage and lineage. To her 
everlasting credit it must be borne in mind that, 
although her parents were not friendly toward Lincoln 
(in fact, her father did not meet him until some years 
after the marriage), she, nevertheless, under exceed- 
ingly difficult circumstances, married a man in poverty, 
bore him four sons, and remained faithful and steadfast 
to the end. No one has ever questioned the sterling 
character and fine qualities of Mary Todd. On the 
other hand, she was domineering and extremely am- 
bitious ; in fact, she undoubtedly chose Lincoln in pref- 
erence to Stephen A. Douglas because she felt, by 
some strange intuition, that Lincoln would become 



CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 35 

president. She remarked to several friends who were 
watching Lincoln's rather grotesque approaches to her, 
that she expected to marry the man who would become 
president. 

The date for the wedding was first set for New Year's 
Day of 1841. Lincoln, according to some narrators, 
simply absented himself from the wedding and failed 
to appear at the Edward's home where Mary Todd was 
awaiting him ; others claim Lincoln broke the engage- 
ment by a personal call before the date fixed for the 
wedding. 

At any rate, we know that friends criticized Lincoln 
and he himself came to the conclusion that he had not 
been fair to Mary Todd. He went to her to apologize. 
This meeting resulted in their marriage, which oc- 
curred on November 4, 1842, at the Edward's home. 
At the wedding, the Episcopal ceremony was per- 
formed by Rev. Charles Dresser, the first time that 
service had ever been observed in Springfield. On the 
bride's wedding ring were inscribed the words: "Love 
is Eternal". Weeks later, Lincoln wrote to a friend: 

"Nothing new here, except my marriage, which to me is a 
matter of profound wonder." 

Mary Todd started her married life with Abraham 
Lincoln in the Globe Tavern in Springfield. They paid 
four dollars a week for room and board. Later, on 
April 23, 1844, they were able to buy a modest frame 



36 THE LINCOLN STORY 

house, located at Eighth and Jackson Streets, Spring- 
field, for $1500.00 — $1200.00 in cash and a lot valued 
at $300.00 on Adams Street, owned by Lincoln. They 
lived together until the assassination of Lincoln. At 
the time of the marriage Mary Todd was 23, Lincoln 
33 years of age. 

Things never seemed to run smoothly in the Lincoln 
household. Mr. Lincoln was taciturn, Mrs. Lincoln 
inclined to be loquacious. Mr. Lincoln was indifferent 
to social activities and, in the best sense of the term, 
was a public servant throughout their married life. 
Mrs. Lincoln, on the other hand, by training and incli- 
nation, loved to entertain and insisted on extensive 
social connections. As a practicing lawyer on the 
Eighth Circuit in Illinois, where he made a lasting 
impression as a great lawyer, he was away from home 
frequently for many months at a time. He was en- 
grossed in politics during most of the twenty-three 
years of their married life. This was his chief interest. 
Mrs. Lincoln was well educated, an aristocrat by birth 
and training. She had many influential friends, both 
in Illinois and elsewhere, and had all of the "class" 
and charm of a "great lady". She contributed enor- 
mously to valuable contacts which helped raise Lincoln 
to the heights. 

Lincoln had a genuine affection for each of these 
seven fine women : for Nancy Hanks, his mother, who 
remained first and foremost in his heart; for Sarah 



CONCERNING THE GENTLER SEX 37 

Bush, who helped him with kindness and understanding 
during his period of training and growth into man- 
hood ; for little Kate Roby, for whom he had the 
affection of an adolescent boy for a school girl friend ; 
for Ann Rutledge, the attachment being perplexing 
and enigmatical ; for Mary Owens, who rejected him 
because he lacked necessary sentimental qualities ; for 
Sarah Rickard, for whom his feeling was evanescent 
and paradoxical in its nature ; for Mary Todd, result- 
ing in a faithful marriage between two contrasting per- 
sonalities under extremely difficult circumstances. 

And so, we conclude, when we look at the attitude 
of this man toward the gentler sex, that we must not 
treat him as a type. He simply did not fit in with 
the ways of the conventional, average man. Here, as in 
almost every other phase of his unusual character, his 
approach to women was largely objective — therein 
lies the merit and difficulty in all these attachments. 
Abraham Lincoln had a great heart and his sympathies 
embraced all mankind. He was gentle by nature but 
gave the impression of being rather aloof and not 
easily approachable. He did not have any real confi- 
dants. He was a lonely man. 

It can be truthfully said of Lincoln that to him a 
woman was "arrayed with the sun, and the moon under 
her feet." 



"God is thy law; thou mine." 
John Milton (Paradise Lost) 



IV 

Husband And Father 

After his marriage, Abraham Lincoln wrote to a 
friend : 

"Are you possessing houses and lands, and oxen and asses and 
men servants and maid- 
servants, and begetting sons 
and daughters? We are 
not keeping house, but 
boarding at the Globe Tav- 
ern, which is very well kept 
now by a widow lady of the 
name of Beck. Our room 
(the same that Dr. Wallace 
occupied there) and board- 
ing only costs us four dollars 
a week." 



In another letter, in 
explaining the reason 
for not visiting Kentucky, he wrote : 

"I am so poor and make so little headway in the world that I 
drop back in a month of idleness as much as I gain in a year's 
sowing." 

There was a constant clash of different tempera- 
ments in the marital relationship of the Lincolns. The 
high-spirited wife, aristocratic, ambitious and impul- 
sive, had great difficulty in restraining herself with 

39 




40 THE LINCOLN STORY 

this unusually taciturn but brilliant man. She under- 
stood all the fine qualities as well as the weaknesses of 
her husband, probably more than any other person. 
She was a faithful wife to him, he was a faithful hus- 
band to her, over a long, stormy period of twenty-three 
years. There were four children born of this marriage, 
all sons. Joy and tragedy walked hand in hand in the 
Lincoln household. 

The first born was Robert Todd Lincoln, named 
after the father of Mrs. Lincoln. He was born on 
August 1, 1843, and died in 1926. He was the only 
son who achieved any distinction. The other boys died 
either in childhood or in their early youth. Robert was 
educated at Phillips-Exeter Academy and Harvard 
University. After graduating from Harvard Uni- 
versity, he entered Harvard Law School, but war broke 
out almost immediately and he at once volunteered. 
He served under General Grant as a captain until the 
war was over. He then resumed his law studies at 
Harvard, was admitted to the Bar in 1867, and prac- 
ticed in Chicago until 1881. That year he was ap- 
pointed Secretary of War in President James A. 
Garfield's Cabinet, in which position he continued 
under President Chester A. Arthur. In 1881, he 
refused to be a candidate for President of the 
United States. Later he was named Minister to Eng- 
land by appointment of President Harrison. In 1893, 
he withdrew from public life and attained financial 



HUSBAND AND FATHER 41 

success in the business world. He first served as counsel 
for the Pullman Company ; four years later, upon the 
death of George M. Pullman, he became president of 
that company. He resigned this position in 1911 and 
became chairman of the Board of Directors. He died 
a wealthy man. 

Robert Todd Lincoln was a Todd by nature and had 
many of his mother's characteristics. He felt very 
keenly the overshadowing greatness of his father; in 
fact, at times he showed his resentment of this situation. 
Undoubtedly, Robert Todd Lincoln would have been 
successful in his own right ; the reflection of his father's 
greatness, however, kept him in the limelight. 

The next son, Edward Baker (Eddie) Lincoln, was 
born March 10, 1846, and died at the age of four years. 
The funeral services were held at the First Presbyterian 
Church in Springfield, Rev. James Smith, Pastor. 

William Wallace (Willie) Lincoln was born Decem- 
ber 21, 1850, and died in 1862. 

Thomas (Tad) Lincoln was born in April, 1853, and 
died in 1871. 

All of these sons were born in Springfield, Illinois. 
Robert Todd, Willie and Tad lived with their parents 
in the White House and Willie died in the White 
House. 

Tad was generally accepted as the favorite of Mr. 
Lincoln. Many well-known photographs have been 
preserved, showing the President with little Tad. 



42 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Robert Todd was always the most stable boy in the 
family; the other three being rather untractable and 
spoiled youngsters. 

Many stories are told about the relationship of 
Lincoln with his children. One often repeated tale is 
that Lincoln would put the boys into a little wagon 
on Sunday afternoons and start with them to 
his law office. On the way, as he would hit rough 
places in the street, one or more of the children would 
fall off, and by the time he reached his office, he often 
had an empty wagon. He had not missed the children ; 
so absorbed had he become in deep thought that he 
was oblivious to everything and everybody around him. 
When he discovered what had happened, to the great 
amusement of his neighbors and friends, he would go 
back over the route he had taken, asking people if they 
had seen his children anywhere. 

Naturally, the eccentricities of Mr. Lincoln disturbed 
his wife. She would frequently lose her temper, scold 
him severely, and later, would suffer bitter remorse 
for these outbursts. She understood her husband well 
enough to realize that he was totally irresponsible for 
this sort of action. The boys loved to go to the office 
with their father. He would sit in his office chair and 
the children would run riot all over the place, pulling 
papers, documents and books from the shelves and out 
of the desk. They would create general havoc, climb- 
ing all over their father and leaving everything dishev- 



HUSBAND AND FATHER 43 

eled and upset. Mr. Herndon frequently remonstrated 
with Mr. Lincoln, his law partner, about this situation, 
but to no avail. 

Mr. Herndon said about Lincoln that "all of the 
relatives and friends called him the kindest father they 
had ever seen. He let the boys do whatever they 
pleased. Lincoln so adored his children he was deaf 
and dumb to their faults. He restrained them from 
nothing. * * * He had curious spells of abstraction in 
his home. Often at meal time he would look straight 
ahead with unseeing eyes, oblivious of his circum- 
stances and unconscious of the food before him." 

Mrs. Lincoln had difficulty in trying to get her hus- 
band to show proper concern for the importance of 
people in high position. While, undoubtedly, contacts 
she was able to make for him were of considerable 
value in his advancement, he was never impressed by 
wealth or high social position. His general physical 
makeup was awkward and he was careless about his 
clothing ; in fact, he seemed to care very little about his 
appearance. This, naturally, was extremely disconcert- 
ing to a lady who had been reared in luxurious sur- 
roundings and who was accustomed to all the habits of 
"good society". 

So the lights and shadows in the married life of 
Abraham Lincoln were in great contrast. Mr. Lincoln 
felt that he was a failure in many ways. Certainly, 
he must have been a disappointment to his wife, be- 



44 THE LINCOLN STORY 

cause of her exceptional gifts as a hostess and because 
she had a natural feminine desire for an orderly, well- 
conducted household. The awkwardness and sensi- 
tivity, as well as the general disregard, on his part, of 
conventional demands, made it impossible for her to 
be at her best in her home among her guests and 
visitors. Nevertheless, we must never forget that Mrs. 
Lincoln, under extraordinarily difficult and trying cir- 
cumstances, managed to maintain a semblance of 
orderly housekeeping and, what was more important 
to her, arranged to have her husband meet many im- 
portant and influential people. She also appreciated 
the fact that she was living with a man of unusual 
mental and spiritual qualities. There was no use scold- 
ing him because he had a childlike fear of his wife, 
which was somewhat pitiful, and naturally aggravated 
the situation. 

In the records of history, Lincoln is classed as a 
good but rather indifferent husband — indifferent in 
the sense that he was neglectful of the ordinary, every- 
day observances of little rules and regulations which 
go to make up the sum total of living for most people. 
Lincoln lived in a world of reason and abstract think- 
ing. He did not have close friends or companions ; he 
was moody, very often disconsolate and absent-minded ; 
his sense of humor was of the type, mostly, which con- 
veyed a lesson and was usually couched in parable 
form. It is not strange, therefore, that, being so com- 



HUSBAND AND FATHER 45 

pletely detached from the average outlook on life, he 
appears to be a different person to many different 
people. We do not believe it is an overstatement to say 
that Lincoln was probably the least understood of all 
the presidents in our history. His wife tried dutifully 
to understand him and, in large measure, failed. This 
strain upon her, together with the loss of her two sons, 
undoubtedly contributed to her poor health, mental 
and physical, while she was in the White House. 

Lincoln was never able to accumulate much money, 
before he became president. He had the largest volume 
of law practice of any of the Springfield lawyers. 
Although he made one fee of $5000.00, representing the 
Illinois Central Railway Company, nevertheless, ac- 
cording to his own account, when he was elected Presi- 
dent of the United States in 1860, he listed his total 
assets, accumulated over a quarter of a century, in- 
cluding his home in Springfield, at about $15,000.00. 
This included eleven notes, each bearing ten per cent 
interest, varying in amounts from $150.00 to $3000.00, 
a total of $9,337.90. Of this amount, one-half was 
secured by mortgage. He also listed a Springfield City 
bond worth at the time $666.67 and a certificate of six 
shares of Alton and Sangamon Railroad stock. How- 
ever, after he became President, principally from his 
salary of $25,000.00 per year, he increased the original 
$15,000.00 to more than $85,000.00 at the time of his 
death. After the death of Lincoln, Justice David Davis, 



46 THE LINCOLN STORY 

of the Supreme Court of the United States (appointed 
by Lincoln), administered his estate and handled it so 
judiciously that, by wise investment, when he made 
final distribution in the Probate Court, he had aug- 
mented the estate to $110,974.62. Justice Davis was 
one of the principal leaders at the Chicago convention 
in obtaining the nomination for the presidency for 
Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He had sat as a judge in 
the Eighth Circuit from 1848 to 1860, during which 
time Lincoln tried many cases before him. Lincoln 
excited the great admiration of Justice Davis for his 
legal acumen and great ability as a trial lawyer. 

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Lincoln had a 
very difficult time supporting herself from the income 
of her one-half of her husband's estate, the other one- 
half going to her son, Robert Todd Lincoln. In a letter 
to Justice David Davis, from Chicago, on September 
12, 1865, among other statements, Mrs. Lincoln wrote: 

"Whilst we are passing our days at boarding houses, if my 
head was not bowed down with a sorrow deeper far than ever 
fell to the lot of a bereaved and heartbroken woman, with my 
natural pride I should feel greatly humiliated * * * for the 
present I accept our most uncomfortable state." 

Certainly, the most ardent admirers of Lincoln must 
concede that he was not a success as a father and hus- 
band. He was by nature endowed with talents which 
drove him mercilessly into the field of statecraft. His 
outlook on life was universal and general, not par- 



HUSBAND AND FATHER 47 

ticular. He was probably more interested in the gen- 
eral welfare of people than in his own personal comfort. 
This applied equally in his attitude toward his family. 
He had a deep sense of obligation toward his family 
and in his peculiar way loved the members of the 
entire family, but he could or would not devote any but 
a small fraction of his attention to their interests. This 
undoubtedly hurt Mrs. Lincoln, although she was too 
proud and too big a person to complain about this 
failing of her husband. 

We close this phase of the life of this immortal 
character with the observation that his mind embraced 
too large a sphere for him to allow his own particular 
connections to assume undue prominence in the scheme 
of creation. 



"The Prairie Lawyer — Master of us all" 
Vachel Lindsay 



V 



The Lawyer 



This prairie lawyer once said : 

" * * * If , in your judgment, you cannot be an honest lawyer, 
resolve to be honest without being a lawyer." 

On another occasion 

Lincoln said: 

"It is no use in my pre- 
senting a case if I do not 
believe in it, because any 
jury would see it in my 
face." 

Early in life, Abra- 
ham Lincoln gained the 
reputation of being 
rigidly honest and was 
affectionately known as 
"Honest Abe." 

In his first term in the Legislature, Lincoln made 
an important decision. In one of his autobiographies 
he said he was then considering the trade of a 
blacksmith, and also "thought of trying to study 
law." He thought, however, that he could not succeed 
in being a lawyer without a better education. We can 
imagine how important was his decision to become a 

49 




50 THE LINCOLN STORY 

lawyer, not only as it affected his career, but the whole 
future of the nation. His mighty physique would have 
made him a successful blacksmith, and he considered 
this with great seriousness. In this term of the Legisla- 
ture he met John T. Stuart, a fellow-member (cousin of 
Mary Todd) , who persuaded him to study and prepare 
himself to become a lawyer. 

Mr. Lincoln was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1837, 
while serving in the State Legislature, at the age of 
twenty-eight years. The Legislature was then meeting 
in Vandalia, Illinois. He formed a partnership with 
John T. Stuart, and started practicing in Springfield, 
Illinois, in 1837. Mr. Stuart was one of the leading 
lawyers in Springfield. The population of Springfield 
at that time was about nine thousand. 

Later, in 1841, Lincoln became the junior partner of 
former Judge Stephen T. Logan, a prominent and 
prosperous lawyer. This partnership lasted only two 
years, partly because both were seeking the nomination 
to Congress, and also because the son of Mr. Logan was 
studying law in this office and later became associated 
with his father in the practice. Mr. Lincoln lost the 
nomination to Congress in that year. Later Lincoln 
formed a partnership with William H. Herndon (who 
had also been a law clerk in the office of Judge Logan) , 
under the firm name of Lincoln and Herndon. Mr. 
Herndon was the son of one of Lincoln's closest political 
friends, Archer G. Herndon. This firm lasted until the 



THE LAWYER 51 

death of Lincoln. They practiced law together over a 
period of sixteen years. Mr. Lincoln, upon being elected 
President, informed Mr. Herndon that he did not want 
their shingle removed from in front of the building, 
because, upon his return to Springfield, he desired to 
resume the practice of the law with Mr. Herndon. 

Mr. Lincoln became a famous lawyer in the Eighth 
Circuit of Illinois, where he practiced for twenty-three 
years, and undoubtedly was the outstanding lawyer in 
the State of Illinois in his time. There is a record of 
178 cases in which he appeared as counsel in the Su- 
preme Court of Illinois ; he won 92 of these cases. He 
appeared in 12 cases in the United States Circuit 
Court, of which he won 7. He was counsel in 3 cases in 
the United States Supreme Court, winning 2. In the 
trial courts, he was attorney in about 2000 cases. 

Prior to his admission to the Bar, Mr. Lincoln ap- 
peared before a Justice of the Peace, the celebrated 
Bowling Green of New Salem, and tried small cases, 
without compensation. Many stories are related of 
the rough and ready practice of this rustic dispenser of 
justice, who weighed 250 pounds, and who loved the 
inimitable mannerisms of Lincoln and the droll illus- 
trations he gave. 

Mr. Lincoln, because of his unique character and 
evident earnestness and natural ability as an advocate, 
gained widespread reputation. He was a man of the 
people, a true prairie lawyer, who spoke in the ver- 



JNIVERSm of 



52 THE LINCOLN STORY 

nacular of the day. Any notion, however, that Lincoln 
indulged in "clowning" or the burlesquing of any situa- 
tion in which he appeared is clearly erroneous. Mr. 
Lincoln was deadly serious in everything he did. 

From the beginning of his law practice, Lincoln was 
known as a compromiser and conciliator. It was not 
infrequent for both sides, in impending litigation, to 
agree to be bound by any decision he might make. 
Lincoln rapidly gained the reputation of being fair and 
honorable and a sincere peacemaker. However, no one 
proved more formidable than Lincoln in the court 
room. Those who knew him well feared his great 
ability and persuasive qualities before court and jury. 
His real strength was that, because he was so patently 
honest, the courts and juries would accept his state- 
ments as truth. Not that Lincoln did not make mis- 
takes, but he was never known to purposely misrep- 
resent or misconstrue any cause in which he appeared 
as attorney. 

Albert A. Woldman in "Lawyer Lincoln" has this 
to say about Lincoln as a lawyer : 

"He believed that to be a real lawyer one had to be honest 
intellectually as well as morally. He had no patience with the 
popular conception that no lawyer could be thoroughly honest." 

A man with these qualities had all the necessary 
essentials of a good lawyer. 

While it was not technically legal, Judge David 
Davis, during his absence from court, often authorized 



THE LAWYER 53 

Lincoln to act as Judge, when both sides agreed, which 
they usually did. Most of Lincoln's decisions were ac- 
cepted as correct, although there are records of several 
cases decided by Lincoln, which were taken to the 
Supreme Court of Illinois and reversed. For some years 
before being elected President, Lincoln served as one 
of the State Bar examiners. 

Mr. Lincoln neither drank nor smoked. He did not 
drink intoxicants because he did not like them, and he 
did not smoke for the same reason. As a sample of 
his keenness in repartee, he was once asked by Judge 
Douglas whether he was a temperance man. With a 
smile, Mr. Lincoln immediately replied: "I am not a 
temperance man but I am temperate in this, I don't 
drink." 

In the partnership of Logan and Lincoln, we find a 
strange combination. Mr. Logan was ambitious to 
make money and confined himself very closely to the 
details of his profession. On the other hand, Mr, 
Lincoln was easy-going, unsystematic in his methods, 
and without the slightest inclination toward wealth. 
He told Mr. Logan: 

"Wealth is simply a superfluity of things we don't need." 

Logan died a rich man ; Lincoln died a great man. 

Once Lincoln said to his son, Robert, (in 1864) 
when he favored the return of Robert to Harvard Law 
School : 



54 THE LINCOLN STORY 

"If you become a lawyer you will probably make more money 
at it than I did, but you won't have half the fun." 

It is interesting to note that Stephen A. Douglas, the 
most formidable of Lincoln's opponents throughout his 
career, was a member of the Supreme Court of Illinois 
( 1841 — 1843) and sat on the Bench in the case of Bailey 
vs. Cromwell, reported in 4 Illinois Reports, at page 71. 
In this case, decided in the July Term of 1841, Abraham 
Lincoln appeared for the appellant, Bailey, and his 
former partner, S. T. Logan, appeared for the ap- 
pellees. Lincoln had lost his case in the trial court and 
in the intermediate court, but the Supreme Court 
reversed both of the lower courts. Thus Lincoln won 
this case. Not only was a difficult legal principle in- 
volved, but the case was a portent of future events in 
which Judge Douglas and Mr. Lincoln were to play 
the leading roles. The facts were that a note had been 
given in consideration of the sale of a Negro girl. The 
lower courts held that the owner had a right to sell her 
as his property and entered a judgment against Lin- 
coln's client in the sum of $431.97. The Supreme Court 
of Illinois decided that, under the laws of Illinois, the 
sale of free persons is illegal and that there had been 
a failure of proof that this girl was not a free person ; 
therefore, there could be no recovery on this note. 
While there were technical and procedural questions 
involved, this legal victory for Lincoln was carried out 
in his political philosophy in later years, especially in 



THE LAWYER 55 

his debates with Judge Douglas in the senatorial cam- 
paign of 1858. 

Lincoln in volume of cases tried during this period 
of twenty-three years, probably had as many appear- 
ances as any prominent present-day lawyer. He 
handled, as does every lawyer, many unimportant mat- 
ters. However, as the records of the Supreme Court of 
Illinois and the Federal Courts show, he also appeared 
in many important cases and would probably be con- 
sidered what members of the Bar call "a lawyer's 
lawyer." He represented several railroads; he was 
special counsel for municipalities; he represented in- 
surance companies, bridge companies, several manu- 
facturing companies and partnerships, and also served 
as special prosecutor for the State in several instances. 
One of the best known of the cases in which he ap- 
peared was that of McCormick vs. Manny. Lincoln 
was employed in 1857 to defend a Mr. Manny in an 
action brought by McCormick, the inventor of the 
reaping machine, for infringement of his patent. Lin- 
coln had been recommended to Manny by a prominent 
member of the Bar of Illinois. Only a leader of the Bar, 
of the first class, would have been selected by a fellow- 
lawyer for this type of case. The case was argued in 
Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Circuit Court of the United 
States. McCormick was represented by Mr. Reverdy 
Johnson, considered by many the outstanding lawyer 
of his day. Edwin M. Stanton and General Harding of 



56 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Philadelphia were employed with Mr. Lincoln to rep- 
resent Manny. Lincoln had looked forward to this 
experience with much enthusiasm because of the high 
rating of the other lawyers, on both sides, and because 
he was particularly anxious to prove his skill with such 
masters of the law. Mr. Stanton snubbed Mr. Lincoln, 
both outside of the court room and in court, and re- 
fused to read Lincoln's brief, which the latter had pre- 
pared with infinite care and skill. Mr. Lincoln was 
allowed to sit in the court room, but did not take an 
active part in the trial. He went back to Springfield 
very much dejected, both by reason of the discourtesy 
shown him by Mr. Stanton and also because he had 
not been given the opportunity to show his legal ability. 
Lincoln's greatness of character was never more mani- 
fest than when he later appointed Edwin M. Stanton as 
Secretary of War in his Cabinet ; further, Lincoln was 
loyal to Stanton and defended him from many attacks, 
because he felt that Stanton was the best person for 
this difficult position. 

One of Lincoln's colleagues in the McCormick- 
Manny case said : 

"When I first saw him standing at the head of the steps of 
the Burnet House in Cincinnati, he looked like a tall, rawly 
boned, ungainly backwoodsman, with coarse, ill-fitting clothing, 
his trousers hardly reaching his ankles, holding in his hands a 
blue cotton umbrella with a ball on the end of the handle." 

Stanton described Lincoln as "A long, lank creature 



THE LAWYER 57 

from Illinois, wearing a dirty linen duster for a coat, 
on the back of which the perspiration had splotched 
wide stains that resembled a map of the continent." 

Lincoln proved his true humility by stating to a 
friend, later: 

"I am going home to study law. You know that for any 
rough and tumble case I am good enough for any man we have 
out in that country, but these college-trained men are coming 
West. They have all the advantages of a life-long training in the 
law, plenty of time to study and everything, perhaps, to fit 
them. Soon they will be in Illinois and I must meet them. I 
am just going home to study law and when they appear, I will 
be ready." 

Lincoln was greatly impressed by the presentation 
of Stanton and Harding, and never forgot Stanton's 
evident ability. 

We must bear in mind that when Stanton showed 
his aversion to Lincoln in the Manny law suit tried in 
Cincinnati his language was characteristic. Stanton 
was a great lawyer, honest and very blunt, often given 
to explosive statements. We feel that Stanton greatly 
colored his remarks, which certainly present a carica- 
ture rather than a true picture of the real Lincoln. At 
any rate, Stanton certainly was judging Lincoln by his 
outward appearance, which was undoubtedly in great 
contrast to the well-groomed lawyers who appeared 
in this celebrated case. 

On February 12, 1896, in the Marquette Club in 
Chicago, William McKinley, himself a capable lawyer 



58 THE LINCOLN STORY 

(who was elected President of the United States in 
1896) said: 

"The best training he (Lincoln) had for the presidency, after 
all, was his twenty-three years of arduous experience as a lawyer 
traveling the circuits of the courts of his district and state. Here 
he met in forensic conflict, and frequently defeated, some of the 
most powerful legal minds of the West. In the higher courts he 
won still greater distinction in the important cases coming to 
his charge." 

A half-century ago, on November 13, 1900, Hon- 
orable Joseph A. Choate, one of America's great 
lawyers, in an address on Lincoln at Edinburgh, Scot- 
land, said: 

"I lay great stress on Lincoln's career as a lawyer — much 
more than his biographers do ; . . . and I am sure his training 
and experience in the courts had much to do with the develop- 
ment of those forces of intellect and character which he soon 
displayed on a broader arena." 

Lord Shaw, eminent English jurist, said that in his 
judgment the five greatest lawyers of all time were 
Papinianus, Grotius, Forbes, Mansfield, and Lincoln. 

In my judgment, the truest appraisal of Lincoln the 
Lawyer was made by Justice Breese (a member of the 
Illinois Supreme Court Bench), on behalf of the Bench, 
in response to a memorial presented to the Court by a 
former Chief Justice of the Court, on May 3, 1865. On 
that date, the Supreme Court of Illinois held memoriai 
services for Mr. Lincoln in the Supreme Court room at 
Ottawa, Illinois. Said Mr. Justice Breese : 



THE LAWYER 59 

"It becomes us to speak of him only as a man and as a lawyer 
- - as a member of an honorable profession from whose ranks 
have been taken in times of the greatest emergency men whose 
high destiny it has been not only to guide the car of victory, but 
to sustain the weight of empire. Not deeply read in his pro- 
fession, Mr. Lincoln was never found deficient in all the knowl- 
edge requisite to present the strong points of his case to the best 
advantage, and by his searching analysis, make clear the most 
intricate controversy. He was, besides, an honest lawyer prac- 
ticing none of the chicanery of the profession to which he was 
devoted, nor any of those mean and little and shuffling and 
dishonorable arts all do not avoid ; nor did he seek an advantage 
over his adversary to which he was not fairly entitled by the 
merits of his cause and by the force of his arguments. With an 
exterior by no means polished, with nothing in the outward man 
to captivate, there was that within him, glowing in his mind, 
which enabled him to impress, by the force of his logic, his own 
clear perceptions upon the minds of those he sought to influence. 
He was, therefore, a successful lawyer, but bore with humility 
the distinction he had won. For my single self I have for a 
quarter of a century regarded Mr. Lincoln as the fairest lawyer 
I ever knew, and of a professional bearing so high-toned and 
honorable as justly and without derogating from the claims of 
others, entitling him to be presented to the profession as a model 
well worthy of the closest imitation." 

So Abraham Lincoln maintained the most 
honorable and scrupulous attitude in an honorable 
profession. His fellow-lawyers knew his worth and 
weaknesses more than any other group. We feel that 
Mr. Lincoln's greatness as a statesman, President, and 
world figure is based primarily upon his painstaking 
ethical deportment and brilliant mental attainments 
as a member of the Illinois Bar. In fact, in any law 



60 THE LINCOLN STORY 

school in America, the reading of the cases in which 
he appeared and the background of his life, including 
his legal and judicial conduct, should be the cardinal 
requirements in the study of legal ethics. 



tf To thine own self be true!' 
Shakespeare 



VI 



The Politician 



On the wall of the entrance to the Administration 
Building of the Lincoln Memorial University, located 
at Harrogate, Tennessee, only a few miles from the 
Oak Ridge atom bomb 
plant, is framed a por- 
tion of the address de- 
livered by Abraham 
Lincoln before the 
Young Men's Lyceum 
of Springfield, Illinois, 
on January 27, 1838, 
when he was twenty- 
eight years of age: 




EHimg 



"At what point shall we 
expect the approach of 
danger? By what means 
shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans- Atlantic 
military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? 
Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa com- 
bined with all the treasure of the earth in their military chest, 
with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a 
drink from the Ohio or make a track in the Blue Ridge in a 
trial of a thousand years. 

"At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be ex- 
pected ? I answer, if it ever reaches us it must spring up amongst 

63 



64 THE LINCOLN STORY 

us ; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we 
must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free 
men we must live through all time or die by suicide." 

While this address in no way compares with the 
majestic utterances made by him during his occupancy 
of the White House, it shows that from his early years 
Lincoln was master of the spoken word, with universal 
ideas, applicable in every crisis of our democracy. 

Lincoln was active in public affairs from his early 
manhood. At the age of twenty-three, he was a candi- 
date for the legislature in Illinois, but was defeated. In 
his precinct, in New Salem, the vote was 277 for him 
and 7 against him. He was not yet well enough known 
outside of his own district to carry his county. In the 
same year he had come back with the New Salem 
Volunteers from the so-called Black Hawk-Indian War. 
He was elected Captain of the New Salem Company, 
which was formed as a part of the Voluntary State 
Militia. Later, he often told many funny stories at his 
own expense, growing out of this bloodless campaign. 
He returned to New Salem just two weeks before the 
election. In one of his speeches, he said : 

"I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate 
for the legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the 
old woman's dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in 
favor of the internal-improvements system and a high protective 
tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If 
elected I shall be thankful ; if not, it will be all the same." 

Four times thereafter, however, he was elected to 



THE POLITICIAN 65 

this office, serving from 1834-1842. Prior to 1834, he 
had served for a short time as deputy surveyor of San- 
gamon County; he had also acted as postmaster at 
New Salem, Illinois. Every school-child has read that 
he carried the post office in his high, "stove-pipe" hat. 
This position paid so little that he was also splitting 
rails and helping at the mill and doing other hard work 
in addition, to obtain a slender income. Besides, he 
had worked as a clerk in the village store. 

In 1836, at the age of twenty-seven, as candidate for 
re-election to the State Legislature, Lincoln anticipated 
woman's suffrage. Throughout his career he advo- 
cated, either directly or indirectly, equal rights of 
suffrage for women. He said, in this campaign: 

"I go for all sharing the privileges of the government who 
assist in sharing its burdens. Consequently I go for admitting all 
whites to the right of suffrage who pay taxes or bear arms (by 
no means excluding females)." 

In the following year of 1837, when the abolitionist 
Lovejoy was murdered at Alton, Illinois, Lincoln 
placed in the record of the State Legislature his pro- 
test concerning certain resolutions passed by this Body 
condemning the abolition movement. Lincoln said: 

"The institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and 
bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends 
rather to increase than to abate its evils." 

In the same year of 1837 Lincoln was admitted to 
practice law at the Illinois Bar. 



66 THE LINCOLN STORY 

In 1846, he was elected to the United States Con- 
gress. His opponent was a famous traveling evangelist, 
Peter Cartwright, who was a frontier preacher of great 
eloquence. An interesting event occurred during this 
campaign. Mr. Cartwright was holding a mass meet- 
ing under a tent and was combining preaching and 
politics, with great fervor. In his most persuasive 
manner, Mr. Cartwright was exhorting the people to 
follow the path of righteousness and good living. In a 
dramatic way, he asked all of those who expected to 
go to Heaven to stand up. Most of the audience stood. 
Then he asked those who expected to go in the opposite 
direction to stand up. The rest arose, in a spirit of 
levity, except Mr. Lincoln. He had unobtrusively 
strolled into the meeting and sat in the rear seat. Mr. 
Cartwright, expecting to make a point against his rival, 
said, in a loud voice : "Well, Mr. Lincoln, you are the 
only one who remains seated. Where do you expect to 
go?" Mr. Lincoln in his drawling fashion replied: "I 
expect to go to Congress," and slowly walked out of 
the meeting. 

While in Congress, Mr. Lincoln's outspoken criticism 
of the Administration's Mexican policy made him very 
unpopular, although he was reflecting the position of 
the Whig Party. He went back to Illinois and resumed 
the practice of the law, at the end of one term, under 
the firm belief that he was through with politics for- 
ever, and could start accumulating a little money for 



THE POLITICIAN 67 

the future support of his family. He often said that his 
political activities caused him to lose any opportunity 
to earn a fair living. However, although between 1848 
and 1854, Lincoln was nominally inactive, he was still 
known as one of the leaders of the Whig Party in Illi- 
nois. On January 4, 1854, his big chance to attract 
public attention came to him. Stephen A. Douglas, 
chairman of the Committee on Territories, recom- 
mended in the Senate in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill that 
the voters of the territory of Nebraska, whenever it 
should be admitted to statehood, could decide for them- 
selves whether they desired slavery or otherwise. 
Douglas was the outstanding leader of "Home Rule" in 
the territories. His announcement in 1854 made a 
clear-cut issue and Lincoln was the logical man to 
oppose him. On October 4, 1854, at the annual State 
Fair at Springfield, before a tremendous crowd, so 
effective was a speech delivered by Lincoln that the 
abolitionists attempted to commit him to their cause, 
without success. He continued his open opposition to 
the Douglas policies and was active in Illinois in or- 
ganizing the new Republican Party. 

The Republican party came into existence in Illinois 
at Bloomington, May 29, 1856. Abraham Lincoln 
made a speech at this Convention which his partner, 
Herndon, said was "the grand effort of his life." 

Five nights later the action of the Bloomington Con- 
vention was confirmed at Springfield, Lincoln had been 



68 THE LINCOLN STORY 

named as one of the presidential electors and can- 
vassed the State, making in all about fifty speeches. 
He seemed to be in demand everywhere and had cre- 
ated an issue for the newly-formed Party, with himself 
as its principal champion. In the same year the 
national Republican Convention was held in Phila- 
delphia and nominated John C. Fremont for Presi- 
dent. Lincoln received 110 votes for the Vice-Presi- 
dency, but he was not nominated. In his characteristic 
fashion, Lincoln said, when informed about this vote: 

"This must be some other fellow by the name of Lincoln who 
was named. It couldn't be me." 

Then, on March 7, 1857, the country was electrified 
when the aged Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney, read the 
opinion of the majority of the United States Supreme 
Court in the noted Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott 
was a negro slave who had been taken into free terri- 
tory. Justice Taney held that he was not entitled to his 
freedom by reason of his having been brought into free 
territory. It was also held in the majority opinion that 
a negro could not become a citizen, had no legal rights, 
and therefore could not sue; moreover, that slaves 
were property and that Congress had no more power 
over slave property than over chattels of any other 
description. 

Lincoln openly attacked this decision as erroneous 
and declared that he would do everything within his 



THE POLITICIAN 69 

power to have it changed. In his future public debates 
with Douglas and others he followed closely the line 
of reasoning of dissenting Justice Curtis. 

In 1858 the Republican Party of Illinois nominated 
Lincoln for the United States Senate. From then on 
his career was built largely upon his debates in this 
senatorial campaign in which Stephen A. Douglas, the 
Democratic candidate, was his opponent. Douglas was 
the exact opposite of Lincoln in his personal appear- 
ance, his technique as a lawyer, and his strategy as a 
public official. Stephen A. Douglas was born in 1813 
and died at the age of forty-eight. He was small in 
stature, with large head and shoulders, and was always 
well-groomed. He was called the "Little Giant," giving 
"the image of power under close compression." He was 
a polished and skillful orator; he might be termed in 
present-day parlance a "rabble rouser," as he appealed 
largely to the emotions of his audiences. 

Abraham Lincoln was tall, awkward, and melan- 
choly. He gave no outward sign of his great genius. 
To the multitudes, Douglas was the "man of the hour". 
The lawyers with whom these two men had worked 
for many years, however, had a saying that "with a 
good case, Lincoln is the best lawyer in the state, but 
in a bad case, Douglas is the best lawyer the state can 
produce." Lincoln was careless about his dress. No 
greater contrast can be presented in history. Each had 
an abiding respect, however, for the other. It is said 



70 THE LINCOLN STORY 

that when Lincoln was inaugurated the first time as 
President, in 1861, the year of Mr. Douglas' death, 
Senator Douglas held the hat of Mr. Lincoln, saying 
that he was proud to have this privilege. 

The Convention which nominated Lincoln for 
United States Senator was held in Springfield on June 
16, 1858. At this Convention, Lincoln gave one of his 
immortal addresses, which startled the entire country 
and which presented the foundation of the political 
creed of Mr. Lincoln. This was the famous "House 
Divided" speech. If we compare this speech with his 
early political addresses, we can realize the tremendous 
development in his intellectual, moral, and persuasive 
powers : 

" * * * 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe 
this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half 
free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not 
expect the house to fall — but I do expect that it will cease to 
be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other." 

Douglas characterized the "House Divided Against 
Itself" speech as highly dangerous, "advocating boldly 
and clearly a war of factions." Douglas further de- 
nounced Lincoln's "warfare upon the Supreme Court 
of the United States because of their decision in the 
Dred Scott Case." Lincoln replied: 

"We believe as much as Judge Douglas (perhaps more) in 
obedience to and respect for the judicial department of govern- 
ment. But we think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We 



THE POLITICIAN 71 

know the court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, 
and we shall do what we can to have it overrule this." 

Shortly thereafter, Lincoln challenged Douglas to 
seven debates. The first debate between the "Little 
Giant" and the "Giant Killer" occurred at Ottawa, 
Illinois, on August 21, 1858, the last one at Alton, 
Illinois, on October 15 of the same year. It was ap- 
parent throughout these memorable debates that Doug- 
las was appealing to the emotions and Lincoln to the 
reason of the people. While Douglas emerged as the 
victor as a result of this campaign, Lincoln received 
more votes from the people than Douglas. Douglas was 
declared elected by the Legislature by reason of the 
system of voting by districts. Lincoln had laid a firm 
foundation for his future, and felt secure in the knowl- 
edge that he had driven a wedge between the northern 
and southern Democrats which would defeat Douglas in 
any Presidential campaign in the future. The strategy 
of Lincoln in his political debates was superb. He was 
willing to accept temporary defeat to gain the greater 
victory. Douglas was a talented debater and popular 
politician and statesman. 

In the first of these seven debates, Douglas asked a 
series of pertinent questions. In the next debate, at 
Freeport, August 27, 1858, Lincoln answered them 
clearly. In turn, however, he propounded four ques- 
tions, the second of which confounded Douglas and 
which Douglas was never able to answer satisfactorily ; 



72 THE LINCOLN STORY 

this was the real cause of his future downfall and 
entangled him in a paradoxical situation in which he 
was sure to lose either the northern or the southern 
Democratic vote, whichever way he answered. The 
second question propounded by Lincoln was : 

"Can the people of a United States territory, in any lawful 
way, against the wishes of any citizen of the United States, 
exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state 
constitution ?" 

The most influential friends of Lincoln advised him 
not to ask this question, but Mr. Lincoln foresaw that 
this was to be a national issue and that it would be sure 
to split the Democratic Party in 1860. In other words, 
if Mr. Douglas answered in such a way as to satisfy the 
Illinois voters, Lincoln foresaw that Douglas would 
lose the southern votes ; if he answered to the contrary, 
he would not be elected to the Senate. Douglas' reply 
satisfied the voters of Illinois in the immediate election, 
but the soundness of Lincoln's position became more 
evident as the years went on. 

At Freeport, Lincoln said : 

"I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the 
right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United 
States territories." 

In the third debate at Jonesboro, Illinois, given on 
September 15, 1858, Lincoln said: 

"I say, in the way our fathers originally left the slavery 



THE POLITICIAN 73 

question, the institution was in the course of ultimate extinction, 
and the public mind rested in the belief that it was in the course 
of ultimate extinction. I say, when this government was first 
established, it was the policy of its founders to prohibit the 
spread of slavery into the new territories of the United States, 
where it had not existed. All I have asked or desired anywhere 
is that it should be placed back again upon the basis that the 
fathers of our government originally placed it." 

He reiterated the same keynote of his talks in the 
fourth debate at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 
1858, and with added emphasis; in the fifth debate at 
Galesburg, Illinois, on October 7, 1858; also in the 
sixth debate held at Quincy, Illinois, October 13, 
1858, as well as in the seventh and last debate at Alton, 
Illinois, on October 15, 1858. 

In other words, Lincoln was standing on well- 
established constitutional principles. He did not argue 
directly against the prohibition of slavery in the States 
where it had existed, although he constantly expressed 
his revulsion toward the system. He pleaded eloquently 
and with the logic of a master lawyer against the illegal 
extension of slavery. His thesis was that if the per- 
nicious issue of human slavery could be "localized," it 
would utterly die out, because the system was "per se" 
morally wrong. 

Lincoln has been charged with being "one of the 
shrewdest, sharpest and adroitest politicians in the 
country." Suffice it to say that he often followed in- 
direct methods to attain his ends, but usually reached 



74 THE LINCOLN STORY 

the goal toward which he was aiming. 

We believe that one of the best analyses of Lincoln's 
political career is the following, by Mr. Horace White, 
one of Lincoln's contemporaries : 

"The popular conception of Mr. Lincoln as one not seeking 
public honors, but not avoiding public duties, is a post-bellum 
growth, very wide of the mark. He was entirely human in this 
regard, but his desire for political preferment was hedged about 
by a sense of obligation to the truth which nothing could shake. 
This fidelity to truth was ingrained and unchangeable. In all 
the speeches I ever heard him make — and they were many — 
he never even insinuated an untruth, nor did he ever fail when 
stating his opponent's positions to state them fully and fairly." 

As Mr. White, who knew Mr. Lincoln well, said, 
"fidelity to truth" seemed to be the central purpose of 
his life. No greater accomplishment could be attained 
by any human being. 

Lincoln throughout his political career was true to 
himself and therefore was not false to any man. 



"Never dreamed tho right were worsted 
wrong would triumph" 

Robert Browning 



VII 

War President 

On October 19, 1860, Mr. Lincoln wrote the follow- 
ing letter to a little girl, in response to her request that 
he grow a beard: 

"Miss Grace Bedell : 

"My dear little Miss : Your ET 
very agreeable letter of the 
15th is received. I regret 
the necessity of saying I gj 
have no daughter. I have 
three sons — one seventeen, 
one nine, and one seven 
years of age. They, with 
their mother, constitute my 
whole family. As to the 
whiskers, having never worn 
any, do you not think people 
would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin now ? 

"Your very sincere 
well wisher, 

"A. Lincoln." 

Notwithstanding his query in this quaint letter, he 
started to grow a beard. We are all familiar with the 
many photographs of Lincoln, the President, always 
with a beard. Up to the time he wrote this letter, he 

77 




78 THE LINCOLN STORY 

had no beard. The incident is typical of many strange 
actions of Lincoln. 

The first choice for President of the Republican 
National Convention held at Chicago in 1860 was 
William H. Seward, later Lincoln's Secretary of State. 
Most Eastern papers had not mentioned Lincoln as a 
possibility. Other candidates nominated at this Con- 
vention were all mentioned, including William H. 
Seward, Edward Bates, Simon Cameron, John McLean, 
and Salmon P. Chase. 

The spearhead of the support for Lincoln was a 
group of prominent lawyers from the Eighth Circuit of 
Illinois, including Judge David Davis, Norman B. Judd, 
Ward Hill Lamon, William H. Herndon, Joseph 
Gillespie, and many others. Norman B. Judd, 
General Counsel of the Rock Island Railroad Com- 
pany, placed the name of Lincoln before the Conven- 
tion (after William H. Seward had also been named) 
in these words: 

"I desire on behalf of the delegates from Illinois to put in 
nomination as the candidate for the president of the United 
States Abraham Lincoln of Illinois." 

Mr. Seward led on the first two ballots, but without 
sufficient votes to nominate him. On the third ballot 
there was a tremendous stampede in the Convention for 
Lincoln, largely engineered by Ward Hill Lamon, who 
was the bodyguard of Mr. Lincoln on his entrance in 



WAR PRESIDENT 79 

the dead of night into Washington on his way to the 
presidency. Lamon had diligently and systematically 
placed Lincoln "rooters" in strategic places in the 
Convention Hall. At the psychological moment, Judge 
Logan, one of the delegates from Springfield, arose and 
shouted : 

"Mr. President, in order or out of order, I propose that this 
Convention and audience give three cheers for the man who is 
evidently their nominee." 

All the time Judge Logan, his former law partner, 
had a letter from Mr. Lincoln in his pocket authorizing 
him to withdraw his name whenever his friends decided 
to do so. 

On the morning of March 4, 1861, Lincoln rode in 
an open barouche from the hotel in Washington to the 
Capitol with President Buchanan for the inaugural 
ceremonies. The oath of office was administered by 
the aged Chief Justice Taney, who had written the 
Dred Scott decision. There were fifty armed soldiers 
concealed beneath the inaugural platform. Every 
military precaution for the safety of the new President 
had been taken along the line of march. There was an 
air of apprehension manifest everywhere. There was 
still general fear of assassination of Mr. Lincoln. On 
his way to Washington from Springfield he was ad- 
vised of a plot to assassinate him. 

The inaugural address at this time was an im- 
passioned appeal to the people of both the north and 



80 THE LINCOLN STORY 

the south to avert impending conflict. Lincoln closed 
this address with these memorable words : 

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We 
must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it 
must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of 
memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to 
every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will 
yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as 
surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." 

Thus spoke this once poor little desolate boy from 
the Kentucky wilderness, the flat-boatman, rail-splitter, 
surveyor, country lawyer and politician, friend of the 
people. Dennis Hanks had said that Abraham Lincoln 
would never amount to much — this same Abraham 
Lincoln had become the sixteenth President of the 
United States. 

Lincoln had prepared his first inaugural address in 
Springfield. He had locked himself in his room. His 
partner, Herndon, was much surprised to learn that the 
only authorities Lincoln used in the preparation of this 
immortal address were Henry Clay's speech delivered 
in 1850, Andrew Jackson's Proclamation Against Nulli- 
fication, a copy of the United States Constitution, and 
Webster's Reply to Hayne. Lincoln regarded Webster's 
Reply as the finest specimen of American oratory. 

Lincoln had a premonition that he would not live 
through his term as President. He was melancholy and 
depressed a great deal of the time. Once, when he was 



WAR PRESIDENT 81 

acting in a facetious manner in the White House, a 
visitor seemed to be shocked ; whereupon, Mr. Lincoln 
said that at times he felt he would go mad and 
that he was obliged to relax by reading humorous stories 
and telling anecdotes. 

The first and one of the greatest difficulties which 
confronted Lincoln as President was the selection of his 
Cabinet. He chose the leading aspirants in the Republi- 
can Convention at Chicago in 1 860, none of whom was 
a close personal friend. Most of them greatly misunder- 
stood the President. The following three selections 
were former Whigs : 

William Henry Seward of New York, Secretary of State, 
aged 60. 

Caleb Blood Smith of Indiana, Secretary of the Interior, 
aged 52. 

Edward Bates of Missouri, Attorney General, aged 68, the 
first choice of Lincoln. 

The following four were Democrats : 

Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury, in his 
50th year. 

Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania, Secretary of War, who was 
over 60 (shortly succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton). 

Montgomery Blair of Kentucky, Postmaster General, aged 48 
years. 

Gideon Welles of Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy, 
aged 58. 

When Lincoln was reminded of the fact that he had 
appointed three Republicans and four Democrats, he 



82 THE LINCOLN STORY 

is quoted as having said that "he also was a member 
of the Cabinet, which made the political strength at 
least equal." The average age of Lincoln's Cabinet 
was 55 years; Lincoln himself was 51 years old when 
he became President. Upon the urgency of Lincoln, 
Cameron later resigned and was appointed as Minister 
to Russia. Edwin M. Stanton was appointed his 
successor. 

Edwin M. Stanton was selected as Secretary of War 
at the suggestion of Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the 
Treasury. At the time, Lincoln said that Stanton did 
not like him and had offended him once. In offering 
the position to Stanton, the President said : 

"This is a time of war. * * * The life of the nation is in 
danger. I need the best counsellors about me. I have every 
confidence in your judgment. * * * Will you accept the posi- 
tion? *** " 

Stanton replied : 

"Mr. President, you take me by surprise." 

In a few days, he accepted. 

Chase and Seward were far more extreme in their 
attitude against the South than was Lincoln. Lincoln 
was looking forward to the day when there would be 
peace between brother and brother and other kindred 
who were divided on the "irreconcilable conflict" be- 
tween the two sections, North and South. In the actual 
pursuit of the war, however, Lincoln was uncompro- 



WAR PRESIDENT 83 

mising in his determination that any and every method 
of warfare, which could be used to bring the North a 
necessary victory to preserve the nation, must be 
followed. 

In all American history, no man has been more 
misunderstood or maligned than Abraham Lincoln. 
His was a complex nature. Very often his conduct of 
affairs did not coincide with his original intention. This 
was because, very frequently, Lincoln acted upon his 
own judgment and without advice. He was, however, 
extremely loyal to the members of his Cabinet. A 
story is told that a friend went to Lincoln and said 
that Stanton was criticising him. Mr. Lincoln replied : 
"Well, Mr. Stanton is usually right." This ended the 
incident. Mr. Stanton frequently tendered his resigna- 
tion, but Lincoln would not accept it. As a matter of 
fact, from the time Stanton took charge of his position 
as Secretary of War, the army seemed to become 
cognizant of the fact that here was a head who would 
unrelentingly build up a compact, fighting, victorious 
host. His appointment was the salvation of Lincoln's 
war aims. Too much credit cannot be given him. 

One of the chief conflicts between Lincoln and Stan- 
ton was the apparent inability of Mr. Lincoln to resist 
an appeal to pardon soldiers guilty of infraction of 
military rules, which to Lincoln did not seem impor- 
tant. A congressman who had heard that a friend of 
his in the Army had been court-martialled and had 



84 THE LINCOLN STORY 

been sentenced to be shot, could get nowhere with 
Stanton. He decided to appeal to the President. Late 
at night, he persisted in seeing the President and ex- 
citedly said: "This man must not be shot. I cannot 
allow him to be shot." "Well," said the President in 
reply, "I do not believe shooting will do him any good. 
Give me that pen." And so, the pardon, of course, was 
granted. 

The firing upon Fort Sumter was the overt act which 
precipitated the bloodiest and most terrible civil war in 
recent times. 

General George B. McClellan, the idol of the people, 
had been given supreme command of the northern 
troops. It developed that General McClellan was a 
magnificent drill master, but not the "driver" and 
leader of precipitate action, which events required. 
Lincoln and the North received a terrible shock when 
the result of the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, 
was received. The Federal Army was defeated and 
hurled back to the Potomac. The North was despon- 
dent, the South jubilant. To make matters worse, there 
were difficulties with Great Britain and France. Both 
Great Britain and France were friendly to the Con- 
federacy due to the cotton trade. 

The fortunes of war during the military campaign 
of 1861 and the summer of 1862 turned against the 
North. The Southern armies were in command of 
General Robert E. Lee, recognized generally as one of 



WAR PRESIDENT 85 

America's greatest soldiers. In fact, it is said that 
Lincoln had offered the command of the Union armies 
to General Lee, who had refused, feeling that his first 
duty was to his native State of Virginia. 

The time had come to effectuate a great moral issue 
in order to stimulate and invigorate the morale of the 
North. In April, 1862, Congress purchased and freed 
all slaves in the District of Columbia and two months 
later abolished slavery throughout the public domain. 
On September 22, 1862, after the Battle of Antietam, 
the President issued a preliminary Proclamation of 
Emancipation, in which he warned the South that 
unless the seceded states returned to the Union by 
January 1, 1863, all slaves would be declared free. 
Antietam was an indecisive, but technical victory for 
the North and a sufficient excuse for this proclamation. 
Mr. Lincoln had gone so far as to urge upon his Cabinet 
compensated emancipation. He suggested that a sum 
of four hundred million dollars should be paid to the 
slave owners in such of the States as would cease 
resistance ; however, the border states were opposed to 
the plan, and the Cabinet disapproved, unanimously. 

On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the formal 
Emancipation Proclamation, which ranks with Magna 
Charta and the Declaration of Independence among 
human liberty documents. 

Prior to the signing of this Proclamation, prominent 
anti-slavery protagonists, including Horace Greeley, 



86 THE LINCOLN STORY 

editor of the "New York Tribune," were constantly 
assailing Lincoln's policy of procrastination, as it was 
called. Lincoln quaintly remarked about Greeley's 
bitter attack against him that Greeley reminded him of 
the husband whose wife had given him a good thrash- 
ing — "Let her alone ; it don't hurt me, and it does her 
a power of good." 

The year 1863 saw a gradual turn of tide in favor 
of the North. McClellan, having failed to take ad- 
vantage of his opportunities at Antietam, was suc- 
ceeded by Burnside. Burnside was found wanting and 
Hooker was appointed chief. Hooker lost the Battle of 
Chancellorsville. Then came the decisive battle of the 
war. Meade stopped Lee at Gettysburg after three 
days of sanguinary battle (July 1, 2 and 3). This 
ended the possibility of the Confederate invasion of the 
North. On July 4, 1863, Grant captured Vicksburg. 
From then on, the war effort was simply a matter of 
"mopping up." Grant became chief commander with 
the rank of Lieutenant General of all of the Federal 
armies in the field. He made his headquarters with 
the army of the Potomac. Grant was persistent, called 
by many "the butcher," but used his superior forces 
relentlessly to cause the downfall of the Confederacy. 
On April 9, 1865, Grant received the surrender of 
General Lee's Army at Appomattox Court House. 
Grant exceeded Lincoln's instructions in allowing the 
Confederate officers to keep their sidearms and horses. 



WAR PRESIDENT 87 

However, when the President heard the terms of sur- 
render he was greatly pleased. 

The favorite military leaders of Lincoln during the 
Civil War were Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. They 
believed in offensive, as opposed to defensive, warfare. 
They were men of action. Lincoln called McClellan, 
Halleck, Thomas, and Meade "lingerers." They were 
marvelous in defense, brave and intelligent, but, as 
Lincoln said, their names figured too much on the 
"waiting list." 

On November 19, 1863, Lincoln gave his immortal 
address at Gettysburg. The crowd was walking away 
and showed very little interest in the speech. He was 
only an incidental speaker. Edward Everett, scholar, 
college president, United States senator, governor, am- 
bassador to England, man of letters, was the orator of 
the day. He gave a polished speech, which took about 
two hours. The next day, however, Mr. Everett wired 
Lincoln to the effect that he, Lincoln, had said more 
in two minutes than Everett had been able to say in 
two hours. 

It was well-known among his friends that Mr. 
Lincoln did not desire to run for President the second 
time. However, his work was not yet done. He was 
again nominated by the Republican Party for President 
at Baltimore, Maryland, on July 8, 1864. He had strong 
opposition for the nomination from Salmon P. Chase 
and George C. Fremont. Andrew Johnson of Tennes- 



88 THE LINCOLN STORY 

see was nominated as his running mate for Vice-Presi- 
dent. It was generally felt that even if he had escaped 
his tragic end, Lincoln would not have long survived 
the Civil War. He was, he said, "tired to death," and 
prayed for the rest he could not obtain in the White 
House. 

The Democratic National Convention at Chicago 
nominated George B. McClellan of New York, who 
had been named by Lincoln as the first chief of the 
Federal armies. Mr. Lincoln did not make any cam- 
paign speeches; in fact, there is evidence that he ex- 
pected defeat. However, he won an overwhelming vic- 
tory in the election. Lincoln's electoral vote was 212 
against 21 for McClellan. McClellan carried only 
three states, New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky. 
Lincoln carried all the rest, including West Virginia, 
which had been admitted to the Union on June 19, 
1863. The popular vote was much closer, Lincoln hav- 
ing received 2,330,552 to 1,835,985 for McClellan. In 
issuing a public statement after his election for the 
second term, Lincoln said: 

"I am thankful to God for this approval of the people; but 
while deeply grateful for this mark of their confidence in me, if 
I know my heart, my gratitude is free from any taint of per- 
sonal triumph. I do not impugn the motives of any one opposed 
to me. It is no pleasure to me to triumph over any one, but I 
give thanks to the Almighty for this evidence of the people's 
resolution to stand by free government and the rights of hu- 
manity." 



WAR PRESIDENT 89 

On March 4, 1865, in a drizzling rain, on the in- 
augural platform in front of the Capitol, Lincoln for 
the second time placed his right hand on the open 
Bible, and was sworn in by Chief Justice Salmon P. 
Chase, whom he had appointed to this high office. The 
President, according to custom, bent his head over the 
Book and kissed the open page. 

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, General Grant 
arrived in Washington. He attended a Cabinet meet- 
ing in which reconstruction was discussed. From then 
on, tragedy stalked swiftly across the pathway of 
Lincoln. On the evening of that day, the President 
attended a performance of "Our American Cousin" 
at Ford's Theater. John Wilkes Booth, an actor, son 
of Junius Brutus Booth and brother of Edwin Booth, 
forced his way into the box of the President and shot 
him in the back of the head. In leaping to the stage 
from the President's box, Booth's spur caught in the 
folds of the American flag. In the fall, Booth broke his 
leg, but in his crippled condition, dragging his leg, he 
drew a dagger and shouted to the audience "Sic semper 
tyrannis" (thus ever to tyrants), the motto of Virginia. 
Mr. Lincoln never regained consciousness. He died the 
next morning, April 15, 1865, surrounded by his family 
and officials. On the same evening, a fellow con- 
spirator wounded William Henry Seward, Secretary 
of State, who fortunately recovered. 



90 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Strange to say, upon the death of Lincoln, all hos- 
tility toward him seemed to be buried with his body. 
The special formal train from Washington to Spring- 
field, Illinois, was almost mobbed by continuous lines 
of disconsolate people. 

Lincoln was one of the earth's great champions of 
human rights and a statesman of the first order. Phillips 
Brooks said of him : 

"There are men as good as he, but they do bad things. There 
are men as intelligent as he, but they do foolish things. In him 
goodness and intelligence combined and made their best result 
of wisdom." 



"Now he belongs to the ages. 
Edwin M. Stanton 



VIII 



The Long Shadow 

The life of Abraham Lincoln was a tragedy. It 
would be necessary to search the terrible tragedies of 
the Greek writers, Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides, 
or the Shakespearean 
tragedies, in order to get 
a counterpart. From the 
standpoint of the prac- 
tical mind, it seemed 
that he accomplished 
his purposes in the most 
tedious roundabout 
methods possible. He 
was misunderstood by 
his closest associates ; he 
seldom confided in his 
friends. His association 
with the gentler sex was filled with caution, fore- 
bodings and vacillation. No American was ever 
more bitterly attacked than was Lincoln. The 
subtle characteristics of his nature did not blend 
with conventional thinking. A good illustration of 
his method in solving perplexing problems is shown 
by an occurrence when he was President. It is 
said that a delegation of church people waited upon 

93 




94 THE LINCOLN STORY 

him and called to his attention that he was not a 
regular church member. He replied : 

"When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole 
qualification for membership, the Saviour's condensed statement 
of both Law and Gospel, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind, 
and thy neighbor as thyself,' that church will I join with all my 
heart and soul." 

Abraham Lincoln was a God-fearing man and be- 
lieved in the church as an institution. But he did not, 
in any phase of his life, allow himself to get engulfed 
in the intricacies of church administration, nor was he 
impressed greatly by symbolic display. 

In the case of General Grant, when a complaint was 
made about his excessive use of intoxicating liquor, 
Lincoln (in his quizzical way) told the informers that if 
they would find out the brand of liquor Grant used he 
would like to put a barrel of it in the headquarters of 
each of his commanding officers. Lincoln's retort to the 
committee was typical. The personal habits of General 
Grant were secondary to the results he was obtaining 
for the Union. Lincoln always put "first things first." 

Lincoln proclaimed the first annual nation-wide 
Thanksgiving Day. His proclamation was issued on 
October 3, 1863, fixing the day and month at Thurs- 
day, November 26th. This was the same day as had 
been selected by Washington in 1789. This was the first 
Thanksgiving Day Proclamation which had been issued 



THE LONG SHADOW 95 

for forty-eight years. Thanksgiving Day has been 
celebrated as a national holiday ever since. There 
had been spasmodic local celebrations since the time of 
Washington, but Lincoln made it lasting. 

What manner of man was Lincoln? His partner, 
Herndon, wrote a letter after he had been closely asso- 
ciated with Mr. Lincoln for more than eighteen years, 
in which he says : 

"I know him better than he does himself. I know this seems 
a little strong, but I risk the assertion. Lincoln is a man of 
heart — aye, as gentle as a woman's and as tender — but he has 
a will strong as iron. He therefore loves all mankind, hates 
slavery and every form of despotism. Put these together — love 
for the slave, and a determination, a will, that justice, strong 
and unyielding, shall be done when he has the right to act, and 
you can form your own conclusions." 

John Drinkwater, famous English playwright, says 
of Lincoln: 

"Abraham Lincoln stands out not only as the greatest Amer- 
ican, but as the greatest man in modern history, in that he did 
the work that he saw as his to a greater degree of perfection 
than any man in late centuries has been able to do. Lincoln 
brought great dignity to a great public office more than any man 
of modern times, and, at the same time, kept in personal contact 
with those about him." 

Woodrow Wilson, 27th President of the United 
States, in a public address, said: 

"Lincoln, nevertheless, rather than Jackson, was the supreme 
American of our history. Lincoln was always a-making; he 



96 THE LINCOLN STORY 

would have died unfinished if the terrible storms of the war had 
not stung him to learn in those four years what no other twenty 
could have taught him and, as he stands there, in his complete 
manhood, at the most perilous helm in Christendom, what a 
marvelous, composite figure he is ! The whole country is summed 
up in him." 

Frederick Trevor Hill, one of the leading authorities 
on the life of Lincoln says: 

"The history of the United States prior to 1860 is replete 
with the names of men whose brilliant achievements added luster 
to the records of their country. 

"But throughout the miasma of civil war and bitter sectional 
feeling, Lincoln, though the representative of a partisan group, 
was the only statesman who, from first to last, thought na- 
tionally. * * * 

"He preeminently, if not alone, had the breadth of mind to 
recognize that the North as well as the South was responsible 
for the existence of slavery. * * * 

"He dedicated himself, heart and mind, to the extinction of 
human slavery. But he unwaveringly subordinated that object 
to the preservation of the Union." 

Mr. Lincoln in appearance gave the impression of 
maturity at an early age. People began to refer to him, 
affectionately, as "Old Abe," when he was only about 
thirty years of age. At his untimely death, at the age of 
fifty-six years, he seemed much older. 

According to Carl Sandburg, "Lincoln read the 
Bible closely, knew it from cover to cover, was familiar 
with its stories and its poetry, quoted from it in his 
talks to juries, in political campaigns, in his speeches, 
and in his letters. There were evangelical Christian 



THE LONG SHADOW 97 

church members who felt he was a solemn, earnest, 
religious man." On the other hand, there were others 
who felt that Lincoln was irreligious. However, his 
expressed thoughts, his attitude toward life and his 
official addresses all breathed the true essence of 
religion. 

Probably the best characterization of Lincoln is given 
by Mr. Sandburg, as follows : 

"In going to New Salem nearly thirty years back he had been, 
in his own words, 'a piece of driftwood floating down the 
Sangamon'. He was, in mood, a drifter, letting the wind and 
weather of history have their way with him, and taking no 
credit to himself for the inevitable. He told Herndon he had 
seen great men up close who were not so great as they seemed 
far off. 

"The left corner of Lincoln's mouth had the lines of a laugh- 
ing man. Beyond a struggle in which he was loser he could see 
another struggle, and write in a letter, 'There will be another 
blow-up and we shall have fun again.' But the right corner of 
his mouth had a droop ; he could say, 'I laugh because if I didn't 
I would weep'." 

The majesty and universal appeal of Lincoln's 
thinking are demonstrated in his public utterances : in 
the "House Divided Against Itself" speech, accepting 
the nomination as United States Senator delivered on 
June 16, 1858, at Springfield, he focused the attention 
of his countrymen upon slavery as the foremost issue 
of the day; the First Inaugural address given on 
March 4, 1861, in which he pleaded for patience and 
forbearance on both sides ; his Emancipation Proclama- 



98 THE LINCOLN STORY 

tion, given to the world on January 1, 1863 ; his Second 
Inaugural address, one of the most poignant pleas to 
the better nature of mankind in all literature, "with 
malice toward none, with charity for all," etc., de- 
livered on March 5, 1865. Included in this list of public 
addresses should be his speech given to the Young 
Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, at the age of 
twenty-eight, on January 27, 1838, and his Cooper 
Union speech delivered in New York City on February 
27, 1860, at the age of fifty-one years. The reading of 
these last two named speeches will show the remarkable 
intellectual growth of Lincoln over a period of almost 
a quarter of a century. The man had emerged into a 
world figure in that time. 

Also a beautiful example of his style is a speech 
delivered by him before the Wisconsin State Agri- 
cultural Society, September 30, 1859: 

"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to 
invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be 
true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented 
him the words, 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it 
expresses ! How chastening in the hour of pride ! How consoling 
in the depths of affliction ! 'And this, too, shall pass away.' And 
yet, let us hope, it is not quite true. Let us hope, rather, that by 
the best cultivation of the physical world beneath and around us, 
and the intellectual and moral world within us, we shall secure 
an individual, social, and political prosperity and happiness, 
whose course shall be onward and upward, and which, while the 
earth endures, shall not pass away." 



THE LONG SHADOW 99 

Perhaps the purest rhetorical gem which has been 
given to posterity is found in the immortal words 
uttered on November 19, 1863, in the dedication of 
the Gettysburg cemetery. The Gettysburg address 
divides itself into seven separate parts (seven — the 
number of perfection), each a perfect facet. It is a 
message of spiritual consolation and burning patriotism, 
which will be sung and praised forever, wherever men 
dream of lofty ideals and valorous deeds. We divide 
this address into its component parts : 

1. THE BIRTH OF A NATION 

"Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth 
on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedi- 
cated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

2. THE TESTING OF ITS BIRTHRIGHT 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether 
that nation — or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated — 
can long endure. 

3. THE DEDICATION 

"We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting 
place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might 
live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

4. APPRECIATION 

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not 
consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, 
living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far 
above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little 
note nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never 
forget what they did here. 



100 THE LINCOLN STORY 

5. RENEWAL OF PURPOSE 

"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the 
unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so 
nobly advanced. 

6. CONSECRATION 

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task 
remaining before us ; that from these honored dead we take 
increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last 
full measure of devotion ; 

7. THE SACRED PLEDGE 

"That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have 
died in vain ; and that this nation, under God, shall have a new 
birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the 
people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." 

James Speed, brother of Joshua Speed, who be- 
friended Lincoln as a poor and struggling young man, 
had been appointed Attorney General in the Cabinet 
of Abraham Lincoln. In 1864, James Speed paid the 
following tribute to Lincoln in an address before the 
Society of the Loyal Legion of Cincinnati. This was the 
very last public occasion which James Speed attended, 
just a month before his death. He said: 

"I believe that in all the annals of our race Abraham Lincoln 
is the finest example of an unknown man rising from obscurity 
and ascending to the loftiest heights of human grandeur." 

And so this strange figure, this illustrious statesman 
and emancipator, belongs to the ages. As long as free 
men live, the name of Abraham Lincoln will be a 



THE LONG SHADOW 101 

symbol of democracy. He has cast his long shadow 
across the pages of history as no other statesman has 
succeeded in doing in the past. 



"I intend no modification of my oft-expressed 
wish that all men everywhere could be free." 

Abraham Lincoln 
(Letter to Horace Greeley, Oct. 22, 1862) 



IX 

Great Emancipator 



Abraham Lincoln ranks in world history with Moses 
as the emancipator of a people. Lincoln had the same 
sublime faith in an ever-guiding Providence which 
governed the whole 
career of Moses — law- 
giver and emancipator. 
To understand the ful- 
fillment of Lincoln's life- 
time desire to strike f 
down the slave traffic I 




and destroy it, we must | 
recall, briefly, some of f 

i 

the steps in his career, f 

Lincoln had made j^j 
two trips by flatboat ffffjr 
to New Orleans from 

Indiana and Illinois before he was twenty- two 
years of age. He had seen human beings sold on 
the auction block. He had seen them maltreated, 
bought with money, owned and delivered like 
any other chattel. He had protested whenever 
possible against this evil. When he first saw human 
beings auctioned as merchandise, he determined, if the 

103 



104 THE LINCOLN STORY 

time should come, to strike this evil and strike it hard. 
We can detect here that Lincoln as a young man un- 
derstood that events often forge the course of men; 
that no matter how high his vaulting ambition might 
drive him toward fame and usefulness, unless he had 
the opportunity, it would avail him nothing. He had 
the patience of a true philosopher and a universal, as 
opposed to a localized, mind. We detect, too, a religious 
trend, an awe of Almighty God, throughout his 
career, as was written and spoken by him many times 
through the years. 

When Lincoln was in the legislature of Illinois he 
spoke against slavery; when he was in the United 
States Congress, he again lifted his voice against 
slavery. After he was elected to the high office of 
President, when he was being pressed on every side 
for extreme positions and actions, the following portion 
of a letter written by him in September, 1862, dem- 
onstrates his philosophy and religious trend of mind: 

"We are indeed going through a great trial — a fiery trial. 
In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, 
being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, 
as I am, and as we all are, to work out His great purposes, I 
have desired that all my works and acts may be according to 
His will, and that it might be so, I have sought His aid; but 
if, after endeavoring to do the best in the light which He affords 
me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that, for some purpose 
unknown to me, He wills it otherwise. 

"If I had had my way, this war would never have been com- 
menced. If I had been allowed my way, this war would have 



GREAT EMANCIPATOR 105 

been ended before this ; but we find it still continues, and we 
must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of His 
own, mysterious and unknown to us ; and though with our 
limited understanding we may not be able to comprehend it, 
yet we cannot but believe that He who made the world still 
governs it." 

Mr. Lincoln was misunderstood by both sides. After 
his great unrecorded speech at Bloomington on May 
29, 1856, the abolitionists were sure that he would join 
them. On the other hand, many Northerners felt that 
he was lukewarm on the subject of slavery and that it 
was more or less a political "front" for him. Further, 
others thought that he was a Southern sympathizer. 
Lincoln was revered after his death, but there are many 
evidences that he was despised by men in high places 
up to the time of his death. However, "the common 
people heard him gladly." 

In his "House Divided" speech, delivered by Lincoln 
at the Convention which nominated him for United 
States Senator he quoted directly from the Bible, "A 
house divided against itself cannot stand." 

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was repealed in 
1854 by the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. By this repeal, it 
was intended to extend slavery into the territories and 
(as Lincoln and other objectors feared) generally, 
throughout the nation, into the states. Then came the 
Dred Scott decision in 1857 confirming this position. 
The seven debates between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. 



106 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Douglas (between August 21, 1858 and October 15, 
1858) revolved around this issue and the attempt on 
Douglas's part to advance the theory of "Squatters' 
Rights or Popular Sovereignty." Mr. Douglas argued, 
and successfully, in his race for the United States 
Senate, that the territories had the right by vote to 
determine whether or not they would adopt slavery as 
a part of their basic laws. Mr. Lincoln adroitly and 
patiently put those who were appealing for the ex- 
tension of slavery on the defensive. He exhausted every 
possible means, even advocating payment of a mone- 
tary consideration to the slaveholders to avert bloody 
and costly civil war. A leader of less brilliant strategic 
ability undoubtedly would have succumbed to an 
extreme position on one side of the question or the 
other. Mr. Lincoln stood like a rock for the preserva- 
tion of the Union and made this the primary issue of 
the day, both by his stirring debates with the "Little 
Giant" and his conduct as Chief Magistrate of the 
nation. 

History has proved the justification for the magnifi- 
cent opposition of Lincoln against the extension of 
slavery. 

At eight o'clock on Monday morning of February 11, 
1861, Mr. Lincoln addressed his friends and neighbors 
on the rear of his train, which was carrying him from 
Springfield on his way to the Capitol to assume the 
Presidency. This was the last time he was heard in 



GREAT EMANCIPATOR 107 

Springfield. At that time, he said : 

"My friends : No one not in my position can appreciate the 
sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. 
Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my 
children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know 
not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me 
which is perhaps greater than that which has devolved upon any 
other man since the days of Washington. * * * " 

While Lincoln was in Congress, John C. Calhoun had 
stated the very essence of his doctrine and the position 
of his constituents when he gave to the world the slogan, 
"Emancipation can only be effected by the prostration 
of the white race." 

In the Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 1858 at Alton, 
Lincoln said : 

"It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right 
and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two prin- 
ciples that have stood face to face from the beginning of time ; 
and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right 
of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the 
same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the 
same spirit that says, 'y ou toil an d work and earn bread, and I'll 
eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the 
mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own 
nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of 
men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same 
tyrannical principle. * * * " 

In 1860 Lincoln said: 

"There is but one political question before the people of this 
country, which is this : Is slavery right — or is it wrong ? * * * 
Gentlemen, it has been said of the world's history hitherto that 



108 THE LINCOLN STORY 

'might makes right' ; it is for us and for our times to reverse the 
maxim and to show that 'right makes might'." 

In his message to Congress on July 4, 1861, Lincoln 
said: 

"Surely each man has as strong a motive now to preserve our 
liberties, as each had then to establish them." 

Lincoln was waiting for the time when his Proclama- 
tion would be justified by events and when the morality 
of his position would reach its full strength. He was 
particularly grieved by the constant importunities of 
certain persons who urged him to submit to the "Will 
of God." During this controversy he said: 

"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims 
to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be and 
one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same 
thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite 
possible that God's purpose is something quite different from the 
purpose of either party ; and yet the human instrumentalities, 
working just as they do, are the best adaptation to effect His 
purpose." 

The Union Armies during the troubled years of 
1861 and 1862 were not getting decisive victories. In 
fact, General Lee, brilliant military leader of the South, 
at Manassas, at the second battle of Bull Run, and at 
Antietam, proved his superior generalship. The Battle 
of Antietam, however, gave Lincoln an excuse to issue 
his Proclamation. This battle, with terrible losses on 
both sides, lasted three days ; it was fought in Septem- 



GREAT EMANCIPATOR 109 

ber of 1862. McClellan, Chief Commander of the 
Union forces, had failed to destroy Lee's Army, and 
Lee had retreated across the Potomac safely, leaving 
the blood-drenched battlefield of Antietam behind 
him; thereupon, McClellan smugly announced that 
this indecisive victory was "a masterpiece of art." Lin- 
coln was terribly disappointed and visited the battle- 
ground of Antietam. Two days later, McClellan re- 
ceived the following orders : 

"The President directs that you cross the Potomac and give 
battle to the enemy, or drive him south. Your army must move 
now, while the roads are good." 

However, McClellan procrastinated. These dilatory 
tactics of McClellan probably prolonged the Civil War 
for some time. However, on January 1, 1863, the fatal 
hour arrived. The immortal Emancipation Proc- 
lamation, which freed four million slaves and revita- 
lized the question of freedom all over the world, was 
issued. The Proclamation is simple and direct, in these 
words of one sentence : 

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord 
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as 
slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people 
whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall 
be then, thenceforward, and forever free." 

Immediately after issuing this proclamation, Lincoln 
said: 



110 THE LINCOLN STORY 

"I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, 
than I do in signing this paper. But I have been receiving 
callers and shaking hands since nine o'clock this morning, till 
my arm is stiff and numb. Now this signature is the one that 
will be closely examined, and if they find my hand trembled they 
will say, 'he had some compunctions.' But anyway it is going to 
be done." 

Lincoln had waited long and patiently. He had been 
beset on all sides by conflicting forces. He realized that 
this was an act for the ages. He had a two-fold pur- 
pose in "timing" this action : the military effect, as well 
as the reaction upon the working men of England and 
France, who were having a struggle toward economic 
betterment. In Europe the Proclamation was received 
by the poor and distressed with great enthusiasm and 
hope. In fact, with the exception of the affectionate 
designation . given him as "Honest Abe," which he 
always cherished, the title of "Great Emancipator" 
hovers about his great personality the closest. If Lincoln 
had done nothing else, he would be remembered as one 
of the world's immortals. He was fulfilling an early 
dream. At the very beginning of his career he had said 
that he "would speak for freedom against slavery until 
everywhere in all this broad land the sun shall shine, 
the rain shall fall and the wind shall blow upon no 
man who goes forth to unrequited toil." 

The Battle of Gettysburg July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, vindi- 
cated Lincoln's military attitude. Lincoln, who prob- 
ably hated war as no other man has hated it, once the 



GREAT EMANCIPATOR 111 

conflict began, strove with all his mighty power toward 
a quick, aggressive and final determination of the con- 
flict. He had to remove many leaders, including 
McClellan, because of lack of aggressiveness. He clung 
to Grant (who had never been considered in the same 
class by military authorities as some of the leaders who 
had preceded him), because, Lincoln put it, "Grant 
won victories." While all due credit and glory must be 
given Grant, he was but the instrument serving the 
purpose of a greater heart and mind. 

In matters of principle and fundamental truths, 
Lincoln was inflexible and implacable. No amount of 
abuse or personal aspersion could turn him from his 
pathway, once he decided he was going in the right 
direction. He listened to advice carefully, but as a 
general rule followed his own judgments. 

Shortly after the victory at Gettysburg, Lincoln 
issued a devout Thanksgiving Proclamation on July 15, 
1863. It reads: 

"It has pleased Almighty God to hearken to the supplications 
and prayers of an afflicted people, and to vouchsafe to the army 
and the navy of the United States victories on the land and on 
the sea so signal and so effective as to furnish reasonable ground 
for augmented confidence that the Union of these States will be 
maintained, their Constitution preserved, and their peace and 
prosperity permanently restored. 

"It is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of 
the Almighty Father, and the power of His Hand, equally in 
these triumphs and these sorrows." 



112 THE LINCOLN STORY 

Sometimes one ponders what course our Republic 
would have taken had Lincoln not represented us in 
this critical hour. No one who studies the fretful life 
of Lincoln can deny his nobility of purpose and his 
sincerity of action. Lincoln, as no other statesman has 
been able to do, lifted the ordinary small events of life 
to a position of dignity. He was a religious man, a 
believer in the final success of the right, within the 
providence of Almighty God. He revived the embers of 
patriotism and stirred anew the serious desire of Wash- 
ington and his colleagues to make all men free before 
the law ; to recognize the legal rights of the individual, 
regardless of race, color or creed ; to stamp out injustice 
and to protect the weak against the aggression and 
wrong-doing of those in positions of power. 

In these times, our generation can look unafraid at 
the figure of Lincoln and his great predecessors, and 
with renewed courage and strength, fight with personal 
sacrifice for the cause of justice and freedom for all 
peoples everywhere, in every state or condition what- 
soever, 



"That nation has not lived in vain 
which has given the world Washington 
and Lincoln, the best great men and 
the greatest good men ivhom history 
can show." 

Henry Cabot Lodge 

Lincoln address before the Mass. 
Legislature on February 12, 1909. 



X 

George Washington And 
Abraham Lincoln 



George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, 
at Bridges Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia; 
he died at Mt. Vernon, Virginia, on December 14, 1799, 
in his sixty-eighth year. 

Washington said: 

"I hope I shall always 
possess firmness and virtue 
enough to maintain what I 
consider the most enviable 
of all titles — the character 
of an 'Honest Man'." 

Abraham Lincoln was 
born February 12, 1809, 
in Hardin County, Ken- 
tucky. He died April 
15, 1865. Abraham Lin- 
coln treasured the affec- 
tionate title, "Honest Abe", which he earned through 
a life-time of rigid, scrupulous conduct. 

Washington was six feet, one inch tall, dignified, 
handsome; he had a background of wealth and in- 

115 




116 THE LINCOLN STORY 

fluence ; he took pride in his dress and general appear- 
ance, and, with his wife, Martha Custis Washington, 
was the center of social activities during his entire 
married life. 

Lincoln was six feet, four inches tall, with narrow 
chest and a comparatively small head, with arms and 
feet out of proportion to his general build; he was 
awkward and lonely, and could never accustom himself 
to social activities. He was born in obscurity and 
poverty. Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife, had a back- 
ground of aristocracy and wealth, and had social as- 
pirations which were never completely satisfied by her 
husband. 

Washington was somewhat hard to approach, but 
was genial in his friendships, which he cultivated and 
treasured. 

Lincoln had few close friends, although he was 
kindly and humane. Moreover, Lincoln appreciated 
the support he was given by his circle of acquaintances. 

Washington lived, in the main, among the so-called 
wealthy class of people, and was a wealthy man 
himself. 

Lincoln kept in close contact, throughout his life- 
time, with the poor and the masses of people without 
influence. 

Washington was a severe disciplinarian and a care- 
ful supervisor of his affairs, both personal and public, 
and always kept an accurate diary of his activities. 



WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN 117 

Lincoln was lax in his methods, and indifferent to 
his personal affairs. 

Lincoln, like Washington, had dignity and an ob- 
jectivity toward people and affairs in general, which 
stamped upon him the mark of great leadership. 

Mr. Washington enjoyed the luxuries of life. 
Through the death of the daughter of his half-brother, 
Lawrence, he became the owner of the estate of Mt. 
Vernon, one of the show places on the Potomac. At an 
early age, he had become one of the most distinguished 
and influential men in the colonies, and the possessor 
of considerable wealth. 

Mr. Lincoln was always comparatively poor and 
seemed utterly indifferent toward any but the simplest 
method of living. Lincoln, however, fully appreciated 
the value and power of money. 

Washington never developed a pronounced sense 
of humor, whereas Lincoln was noted for his droll 
statements and broad sense of humor. Once, when 
Lincoln was President, a message bearer came into 
the room with the information that the enemy had 
captured a group of Union generals and some mules ; 
Lincoln replied : "What a pity to lose all those mules." 

After the death of Washington, the finest tribute was 
paid him by one of his generals in the following im- 
perishable words, which are now found in all school 
books throughout the land: 

"First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of 



118 THE LINCOLN STORY 

his countrymen." 

Likewise, mankind everywhere reveres the memory 
of Lincoln — "Great Emancipator". 

It is correct to state that Washington was the 
strongest individual force in creating the Union and 
that Lincoln was the leading influence in preserving it. 

Washington looms as the greatest figure in the 
eighteenth century, as does Lincoln in the nineteenth 
century. 

Washington was an active vestryman in the Episco- 
palian Church and later became Master of the Masonic 
Lodge in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Lincoln never belonged to a church or a lodge. 

"The shot heard round the world" at Lexington, 
in 1775, was the beginning of the Revolutionary War 
against Great Britain. When the date for the meeting 
of the Second Continental Congress was reached, all 
New England was in arms and Congress was asked to 
adopt the army gathered around Boston, to assume the 
conduct of the war. Congress unexpectedly became 
a governing body and began to do those things which 
each colony could not do by itself. After a month's 
delay, the Second Continental Congress accepted the 
band of patriots gathered about Boston and made it 
the Continental Army. George Washington, then a 
delegate to Congress, was made the Commander in 
Chief of the army. Washington assumed his duties on 
June 16, 1775 and set out for Boston on June 21. His 



WASHLNGTON AND LINCOLN 119 

military career ended with the surrender of Cornwallis 
at Trenton, N. J., on October 19, 1781. 

Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger 
Sherman and Robert R. Livingston were appointed a 
committee to write the Declaration of Independence. 
The Declaration of Independence was the handiwork 
of Jefferson, with the exception of several phrases 
credited to John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. On 
July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was 
adopted by Congress and copies sent to the states. The 
old bell in Independence Hall rang out the news to an 
expectant people. Strange to say, the bell, which had 
been cast twenty-four years before this historic date, 
had these prophetic words engraved upon its side: 

"Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the 
inhabitants thereof." 

Every peal of this bell proclaimed to the world that 
"all men are created equal" — "that they are endowed 
by their Creator with certain unalienable rights" — 
and "that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit 
of happiness". 

It was the desire of Washington, after the peace 
treaty had been signed, to retire from public life. 
However, his work was not yet finished. The world 
knows of his inestimable achievement as the first 
President of the United States. Twice he was elected 
as the chief executive, with virtually no opposition. 
His two administrations of four years each (1789-1797) 



120 THE LINCOLN STORY 

demonstrated his capable statesmanship. He had the 
confidence of all the nations of the world and the back- 
ing, almost unanimously, of his own people. It is in- 
teresting that in his cabinet were included such eminent 
names as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, 
Henry Knox and Edmund Randolph. 

Not underrating the great military genius of George 
Washington nor his splendid administrative achieve- 
ments, we believe that the principal contribution of 
this noble character was as presiding officer at the 
Constitutional Convention, which convened in Phila- 
delphia on May 25, 1787. At the age of fifty-five, 
Washington presided with infinite patience and tact. 
The United States Constitution was adopted Septem- 
ber 17, 1787, by the representatives of twelve of the 
thirteen original colonies. The first ten amendments 
to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were 
adopted in 1791. 

Lord Bryce has said, concerning this great document : 

"The Constitution of the United States, including the amend- 
ments, may be read aloud in twenty-three minutes. It is about 
half as long as Saint Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, and 
about one fourth as long as the Irish Land Act of 1881. History 
knows few instruments which in so few words lay down equally 
momentous rules on a vast range of matters of the highest im- 
portance and complexity. 

"Even including the nineteen amendments, after one hun- 
dred and four years of development, the Constitution does not 
exceed seven thousand words." 



WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN 121 

William Gladstone, one of the greatest English 
statesmen of all time, in a quotation which has 
become familiar to most Americans, stated: 

"The American Constitution is the most wonderful work ever 
struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man." 

When the Constitution was adopted, the country 
was largely agricultural, mostly undeveloped, and 
large portions of it undiscovered and unknown. The 
United States Constitution survives in the present day 
stress of mechanical development and mass production. 
From a population of three million we have emerged 
into a nation of approximately one hundred and fifty 
million, and yet the instrument is still workable and 
is our notable contribution to freedom's cause. Its 
central idea is a combination of individual liberty and 
national union. 

Abraham Lincoln had virtually no military ex- 
perience, although he was elected captain of his com- 
pany in the so-called Black Hawk War. He and his 
companions neither saw Black Hawk, nor did they 
engage in any warfare. However, the bloodiest Civil 
War of modern times was fought in his administration. 
Without Lincoln at the helm, our ship of state would 
have been adrift on a stormy sea. Lincoln's assassina- 
tion dramatized — as nothing else could have accom- 
plished — the life of one of the world's leading ex- 
ponents of the rights and liberties of a nation. 



122 THE LINCOLN STORY 

George Washington, like Abraham Lincoln, was a 
leader of men. The two names, George Washington, 
the soldier-statesman, and Abraham Lincoln, the 
lawyer-statesman, must be kept inseparable, insofar as 
their connection with the United States Constitution is 
concerned — the one, its creator, the other, its pre- 
server. Both of these foremost Americans had certain 
ideals in common : love of country, desire to perpetuate 
democratic principles, love of liberty, opposition to 
all forms of injustice. 

Thus spoke Lincoln about his illustrious predecessor : 

"This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth- 
day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washing- 
ton is the mightiest name on earth — long since mightiest in the 
cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On 
that name an eulogy is expected. It can not be. To add bright- 
ness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike im- 
possible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the 
name, and in its naked, deathless splendor leave it shining on." 

It has truthfully been said that "men revere Wash- 
ington — they love Abraham Lincoln". 



"Righteousness exalteth a nation;" 
Proverbs 14:34 



XI 

And In Conclusion 



"He (Abraham Lincoln) was so abundantly representative 
that he stands alone. He is our ideal and our test. The test 
is not one of achievement, but of equality; Lincoln not only 
saved the Union, but he incarnated the spirit which alone 
can preserve it." 

Charles Evans Hughes 



We have attempted, in the foregoing addresses, to 
picture the real Lincoln in various phases and activities 
during his career. We have tried to avoid deductions 
of sentimentalists, who have portrayed Lincoln, with 
marked success among the masses of the people, as 
a God-like figure, to be worshipped — a figure of 
perfection. On the other hand, we feel we have 
avoided the pitfalls of extremists who, without evi- 
dence, but based largely on rumor and hearsay, have 
very strenuously argued that Lincoln was simply a 
"political accident", an adventurer, a man of mediocre 
talents, cunning, irreligious, willing to compromise 
with the truth to serve an excessively personal am- 
bition. 

The overwhelming proof, based upon the actualities, 
places Lincoln among the seers and prophets of all 
ages. He is an ever-towering cosmic figure. We believe, 

125 



126 THE LINCOLN STORY 

too, that he must be classed among the great teachers, 
religious and secular, in the field of truth, ethics and 
morality. We believe, further, that Mr. Lincoln had a 
universal mind and that he was the incarnation of the 
democratic spirit. We believe that his pre-eminent 
accomplishment, however, was in the mastery of the 
art of expression. 

In reviewing a Report of date April 30, 1949, of the 
Public Relations Committee of the New Jersey State 
Bar Association, we were startled to find a quotation 
from Mr. George E. Sokolsky, internationally known 
columnist. A portion of this statement is apropos to 
this discussion: 

"I would be the last person to say that there is not something 
very ugly about our society in this generation, * * * It is that 
morality seems to have lost its place in our lives. Anything seems 
to go. Anything at all. Maybe we need a portrayal of all of us, 
not as each of us sees himself but as we are seen by each other. 
Dignity of person exists not by suppressions but in the grandeur 
of personality." * * * 

In order to give Lincoln his proper place in the 
history of our country, we suggest a division of our 
nation's development into five epochs : 

FIRST EPOCH 

1607-1775 
The foundation of our government was laid at 
Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. There was a slow 



AND IN CONCLUSION 127 

growth of the colonies, which were finally merged into 
a colonial federation. This period ended in 1775, when 
"The shot heard round the world" was fired at 
Lexington. 

SECOND EPOCH 

1775-1799 
A new nation was born and firmly consolidated by 
the time of the death of George Washington, in 1799. 

THIRD EPOCH 

1799-1837 
From 1799, through the Andrew Jackson admini- 
stration in 1837, marked the end of the agricultural 
and the rise of the industrial period. 

FOURTH EPOCH 

1837-1865 
During this period, our nation was reborn and 
rededicated. 

FIFTH EPOCH 

1865-1950 

From 1865 to the present day, there has been a 
swift acceleration of the industrial period, in the ex- 
pansion of the belt line and mass production methods. 
Our chief contributions to society since 1896 have been 
the automobile, the airplane and the atomic bomb. 

Abraham Lincoln lived through the beginnings of 



128 THE LINCOLN STORY 

the foremost industrial era in the world's history. With 
reference to this period, we quote from Carl Sandburg : 

"And yet again, looking at business and industrial America, 
one felt the future of America was to swarm with forces of history. 
The editor of Harper's (in 1860) told his million readers the 
future would take care of itself. * * * And the editor surveyed 
the past. 'The United States, during the last eighty years, has 
endowed the world with the lightning-rod, the steamboat, the 
photograph, the electric telegraph, the discovery of the use of 
inhaled ether, the sewing machine; the best and cheapest farm 
implements, the best carpenter's tools, the best locks, fire- 
engines, nails, spikes, screws, and axes ; the best fire-arms, the 
cheapest clocks, the fastest steamers and sailing vessels, the 
cheapest railroads, and the lightest wagons, and many labor- 
saving machines. If any nation, during the same eighty years, 
has done more, or as much, the fact is not generally known.' 
And the editor wrote how machinery had made one man as a 
thousand, and a thousand as a million, and as he looked at 
science and industry he could hear 'mysterious voices whispering 
forth majestic prophecies of a new future'." 

It has been said of Lincoln: "His confidence that 
in the eternal struggle between right and wrong only 
right could be victorious, shaped the destiny of the 
Lincoln who was to save the Union." 

It has also been said of him : "Where other historic 
figures seem remote and aloof from every day life, he 
is still a part of it." 

Lincoln said: "I am nothing. But truth is every- 
thing." 

Albert Schweitzer, eminent religious philosopher and 
humanitarian, ethical and moral teacher, master of 



AND IN CONCLUSION 129 

Bach, Goethe and the Bible, unequivocally advocates 
the necessity of an ethical foundation for all human 
endeavor ; we believe that Abraham Lincoln's conduct 
throughout his life exemplifies this teaching. We quote 
from Mr. Schweitzer : 

"The basis of civilization is ethical. Civilization has nothing 
to do with scientific progress or cultural productivity pursued 
for their own sakes. Ethical progress — the advance of man in 
his moral relations with his fellow men — is the only future. The 
fundamental question facing every human endeavor is not 'Is 
it socially or economically promising, or comfortable or beauti- 
ful ?' but Ts it right or wrong ?' If it is right it will automatically 
lead to progress. It is precisely the loss of ethical foundation — 
the growing lack of capacity for thinking about good and evil — 
which deprives contemporary culture of all sense of direction." 

This sounds like an echo from the life of Lincoln, as 
he carried out his basic principle of truth in his every- 
day living, in his law practice, in the field of politics 
and statesmanship. Lincoln said: 

"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith 
let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it." 

That Lincoln had a universal mind needs no special 
emphasis. He tells us : 

"So long as one slave exists in this world, none of us is safe." 
"I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down 
upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he 
could look up into the Heavens and say there is no God." 

Lincoln's definition of democracy is contained in 
three sentences: 



130 THE LINCOLN STORY 

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This 
expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to 
the extent of the difference, is no democracy." 

In these few quotations from Lincoln, we detect a 
rhythm, a majesty and dignity of expression in words 
clothed in their simplest forms, which have never been 
surpassed in literature. It was in the mastery of the 
art of expression that Lincoln reached the supreme 
heights. 

No wonder a student of history of the magnitude of 
the late Nicholas Murray Butler felt free to say about 
Lincoln : 

"What manner of man was this who had become the idol of 
a free people and the very incarnation of their loftiest spirit and 
their noblest ideals? Years have passed and his stately sombre 
figure stands out every day more clearly against the background 
of history." 

In his youth, at the age of twenty eight years, in a 
speech at Springfield, Illinois, on January 27, 1838, 
before the Young Men's Lyceum, one of his earliest 
efforts, although lengthy, shows evidence of a lofty 
and noble spirit. 

As Lincoln perfected himself in the use of words, 
his addresses became shorter and shorter. The Gettys- 
burg address was in a manuscript form, read in two 
minutes. This is one example of Lincoln at his best. 
This well-known speech is considered one of the finest 
examples of classical English structure. His First and 
Second Inaugural addresses, his Thanksgiving message, 



AND IN CONCLUSION 131 

the Bixby letter, all contain brief but unique expressions 
of truth. His style is Biblical and he was thoroughly 
familiar with Shakespeare. 

This mastery of words has also been attributed to 
Winston Churchill. In a recent editorial in the Cin- 
cinnati Times-Star, the tremendous power he exerted 
over the people of Great Britain is credited to this gift. 
To quote one sentence: "He wrought something like 
a miracle, with words alone." Lincoln likewise deserves 
this tribute. 

Now the argument is constantly made that Lincoln 
was a great leader in his time, in fact, one of the 
greatest of all times ; but that he would not fit into our 
modern complicated environment, resulting from mass 
and machine production. On the contrary, we believe 
that the principles of truth, morality, integrity and 
justice, as exemplified and perfectly expressed by 
Lincoln, are all that can save our constitutional form 
of government, today, from complete collapse. We need 
only quote from Mr. Lincoln, in his message to Con- 
gress of July 4, 1861 : 

"Is there in all Republics the inherent and fatal weakness 
that the government of necessity must be too strong for the 
liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own 
existence !" 

This is the controversy which concerns the whole 
world today. Is our Republic becoming too strong for 
the liberties of our people or are we too weak to main- 



132 THE LINCOLN STORY 

tain its existence ? No amount of subterfuge or avoid- 
ance of the issue will solve the problem. 

The matter of right and wrong is a constant ethical 
principle which has never changed from the beginning 
of time. No economic rule or principle of politics or 
government is invariable. In fact, it makes no differ- 
ence, in our opinion, what form of government or what 
system of economics is adopted by a people, in any part 
of the world, if the foundation is built on the conception 
of the difference between right and wrong. We learned 
this truth at our mothers' knees when we were chil- 
dren; the Bible reduces it to its simplest form; the 
great moral, spiritual and ethical leaders of all times 
make it the real and sole issue of good living. 

Our forefathers in America, in the Declaration of 
Independence and the Constitution, recognized that we 
are creatures of God; that all of us have certain in- 
alienable rights, among these being "life, liberty and 
the pursuit of happiness". The pursuit of happiness 
does not mean the accumulation of an abundance of 
things which a man possesseth, but the spiritual and 
ethical values which he builds up within himself. We 
are living in a period, as Sokolsky said, when "anything 
goes — anything at all". The whole philosophical 
argument about happiness is answered in the words of 
wisdom of Moses, Socrates, Christ and Abraham Lin- 
coln. The solution of acute daily problems, currently 
expressed by Dr. Schweitzer and others, is found in the 



AND IN CONCLUSION 133 

teachings of these foremost leaders of thought. "We 
cannot have our cake and eat it too" is a truism which 
we are refusing to recognize in the material world of 
today, and, like the ancient Israelites, we are bowing 
to the "golden calf". 

The problems we are facing today are forcefully 
expressed by Lin Yutang, brilliant Chinese contempor- 
ary scholar and author, in his book "Between Laughter 
and Tears". We quote one passage (page 19) : 

"And not in Asia alone, but throughout the earth, forces are 
rising, growing, to demand that birth of a new freedom of which 
Abraham Lincoln prophetically spoke, so that the world shall 
not be 'half-free and half-slave'. These forces are causing a 
dislocation of our general ideas and traditions. But being un- 
prepared and caught unready, we are meeting them, not with 
clarity and simplicity and strength, but in utter confusion. The 
first principles being not yet established, we are lost in a desert 
of temporizing ingenuities." 

Are we to learn from the lessons taught us as the 
result of the last two World Wars, fought in one gen- 
eration: that regimentation of people is intolerable 
tyranny and oppression — that security at the sacri- 
fice of freedom is a ghastly price, destroying human 
dignity and "reverence for life", and ultimately an- 
nihilating security as well as freedom? Shall we not 
rather listen to Lincoln and other great voices of the 
past, so that we may preserve our priceless heritage as 
a free people under our Constitution? 



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3... 



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Lincoln's Other Mary 

Abraham Lincoln 
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Daugherty, James 

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Abraham Lincoln 

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Forever Free 

The Last Full Measure 

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139 



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The Poets' Lincoln 



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Pratt, Harry E. 
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Lincoln-Douglas : The Weather as 
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The Personal Finances of Abraham 
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Lincoln, 1809-1839 

Lincoln, 1840-1846 

Concerning Mr. Lincoln 



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Lincoln the President, 2 vo. 
Lincoln Runs for Congress 
Honest Abe 
Lincoln and Ohio 



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Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow 

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